The absorption of red cells from the normal peritoneum of the dog can be demonstrated by means of red cells labeled with radio-iron incorporated in the hemoglobin of these red cells. Absorption in normal dogs runs from 20 to 100 per cent of the amount given within 24 hours.
Dogs rendered anemic by bleeding absorb red cells a little less rapidly—ranging from 5 to 80 per cent of the injected red cells. Doubly depleted dogs (anemic and hypoproteinemic) absorb even less in the three experiments recorded.
This peritoneal absorption varies widely in different dogs and even in the same dog at different times. We do not know the factors responsible for these variations but there is no question about active peritoneal absorption.
The intact red cells pass readily from the peritoneal cavity into lymph spaces in diaphragm and other areas of the peritoneum. The red cells move along the lymphatics and through the lymph glands with little or no phagocytosis and eventually into the large veins through the thoracic ducts.