The main objective of this study was to determine the pathways by which horseradish peroxidase (HRP) can cross the endothelium of muscle capillaries. Specimens of mouse diaphragm were fixed for cytochemical analysis at various intervals after intervenous injection of 0.5 mg HRP, at 4 min after intervenous injection of varied amounts of HRP, and at 4 min after intervenous injections in various volumes of isotonic NaCl. Our findings indicate that endothelial junctions serve as a barrier which may allow passage of very limited amounts of HRP. They also suggest that endothelial vesicles transfer HRP from the capillary lumen to the pericapillary interstitium as well as in the reverse direction. Increasing the volume of solution injected to approximately 30% of total blood volume did not increase the amount of HRP that left the capillary lumen. Our results with HRP do not provide clearcut evidence that endothelial junctions are the site of the small pore.

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