Horseradish peroxidase (HRP) injected into amniotic fluid is swallowed by rat fetuses and within 3–6 h reaches the gut lumen. This macromolecular protein is then absorbed by the columnar lining cells via a system of apical cytoplasmic tubules formed by invaginations of the plasma membrane. From cytoplasm subjacent to the brush border HRP is transported, within vacuoles, to the supranuclear region, where some is retained for at least 18 h, and to interepithelial spaces. Extracellular enzyme is then found throughout the epithelial basement membrane and between connective tissue cells of the mucosal and submucosal layers Finally, HRP can be detected within lumina of blood and lymphatic capillaries, strongly suggesting that it is transported from the intestine to the circulation.

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