The fine structural characteristics and phagocytic properties of peroxidase-positive and peroxidase-negative cells in rat hepatic sinusoids were investigated. Cells with a positive peroxidase reaction in the endoplasmic reticulum and the nuclear envelope make up approximately 40% of cells in rat hepatic sinusoids and have abundant cytoplasm containing numerous granules and vacuoles, and occasional tubular, vermiform invaginations. After intravenous injection of colloidal carbon, the luminal plasma membrane of these cells shows continuous sticking of carbon, and there is evidence of avid phagocytosis of colloidal carbon particles. Peroxidase-positive cells are the only cells in hepatic sinusoids which phagocytize large (0.8 µ in diameter) latex particles. In contrast, the peroxidase-negative endothelial cells, which make up 48% of cells, have scanty perinuclear cytoplasm and organelles, and their long cytoplasmic extensions that form the lining of the hepatic sinusoids have fenestrations; these cells ingest small amounts of colloidal carbon, principally by micropinocytosis, exhibit no sticking of carbon particles to their plasma membranes, and do not ingest the larger (latex) particles. The so-called fat-storing cells are peroxidase negative and totally nonphagocytic. The peroxidase reaction thus distinguishes the typical mononuclear phagocytes or Kupffer cells of rat liver from the endothelial-lining cells.

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