The ability of anionic groups on the luminal surface of blood vessels to redistribute by lateral migration under the influence of multivalent ligands was analyzed by electron microscopy, using cationized ferritin (CF). In vitro interaction of blood vessel segments with CF results in rapid aggregation of most anionic sites on the luminal fromt of the endothelium, followed by internalization or detachment of the CF patches, leaving most of the luminal surface devoid of anionic sites. Further incubation of such endothelial cells without CF results in regeneration of binding capacity for the polycationic label. Transport of CF, but not of native ferritin, across the endothelium by vesicle transport, followed by exocytosis of the interiorized CF clusters on the tissue front of the endothelium, was also observed. The possibility that such activities in the blood vessels in vivo may be associated with local changes in the normal distribution of the surface anionic sites as well as in accumulation of debris in the subendothelial layers of the vessels is suggested.

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