Proximal convoluted, proximal straight, and cortical collecting tubular segments isolated from rabbit kidney were perfused with I 125-labeled rabbit serum albumin (RSA-I 125) in ultrafiltrate of serum for up to 3 hr After perfusion, the segments were fixed with glutaraldehyde, embedded in Epon, and either counted with a gamma spectrometer to quantitate protein accumulation or analyzed by electron microscope radioautography to sequentially localize radioactivity
Proximal convoluted and proximal straight segments accumulate RSA-I 125 nearly linearly as a function of time whereas cortical collecting segments do not accumulate measurable amounts of protein. The rate of accumulation of RSA-I 125 in the proximal convoluted tubule is 2 6 times as great as that in the proximal straight tubule.
Electron microscope radioautography of the isolated proximal tubule demonstrated that RSA-I 125 is taken up via small apical vesicles and tubular invaginations, released into large cytoplasmic vacuoles, and finally concentrated in membrane-bounded structures, some of which are acid phosphatase positive These results show that albumin is absorbed by proximal tubules and may be degraded intracellularly within lysosomes. In addition, less radioactivity was located at all times over the lateral intercellular and basilar labyrinthine spaces, suggesting that labeled albumin and/or its breakdown products may be transported across the peritubular cell membrane.