The passageway for interstitial fluids and large molecules across the connective tissue lymph interface has been investigated in dermal lymphatic capillaries in the ears of guinea pigs. Numerous endothelial cells overlap extensively at their margins and lack adhesion devices at many points. The observations suggest that these sites are free to move as a result of slight pressure changes. Immediately following interstitial injections of tracer particles (ferritin, thorium, carbon, and latex spheres), many of the overlapped endothelial cells are separated and thus passageways are provided between the interstitium and lymphatic lumen. Tracer particles also occur in plasmalemmal invaginations along both connective tissue and luminal fronts. All of the tracer particles accumulate within large autophagic-like vacuoles. Very few particles of ferritin are observed in the endothelium after 24 hr; however, the vesicles containing the nonprotein tracer particles (carbon, thorium, and latex) increase in size and content and remain within the lymphatic endothelial cells up to 6 months. The role of vesicles in the transport of large molecules and particles is discussed in relation to the accretion of tracer particles within large vesicles and autophagic-like vacuoles in the endothelial cytoplasm.

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