The lung is able to rapidly remove 5-hydroxytryptamme (5-HT) from the circulation by a Na+-dependent transport mechanism. In order to identify the sites of uptake, radioautographic studies were done on rat lungs which had been isolated and perfused with 5-HT-3H and 0 5 mM iproniazid, a monoamine oxidase inhibitor. In control experiments 10-4 M imipramine was added to the perfusate to inhibit the membrane transport of 5-HT At the light microscope level, silver grains were seen concentrated near capillaries and in the endothelium of large vessels From electron microscope radioautographs a semiquantitative grain count was made and 90% of the silver grains were observed over capillary endothelial cells. The grains were found over the nucleus and cytoplasm of the cell and shewed no preferential association with any particular cytoplasmic inclusion bodies, organelles, or vesicles Other cell types were unlabeled except for a few mast cells, certain vascular smooth muscle cells, and one nerve ending. This radioautographic demonstration of the cell type responsible for the rapid removal of 5-HT from the lung circulation clearly establishes the existence of a new metabolic role for pulmonary endothelial cells.

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