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Abstract

The permeability properties of fenestrated capillaries in the colon and exocrine and endocrine pancreas to exogenous and endogenous molecules were examined. The exogenous tracers horseradish peroxidase (Einstein-Stokes radius [ESR], 3.0 nm), hemoglobin (ESR, 3.2 nm), and ferritin (ESR, 6.1 nm) were injected intravenously and allowed to circulate for 5–90 min. Tissues were removed and processed for cytochemical or standard electron microscopic examination. The endogenous plasma proteins albumin (ESR, 3.5 nm) and IgG (ESR, 5.5 nm) were localized by immunocytochemistry using the protein A-gold technique. All vessels examined were permeable to HRP in less than 5 min. In contrast, these vessels were restrictive to the slightly larger hemoglobin molecule (60-min circulation) and to ferritin (90-min circulation). Capillaries in the exocrine and endrocrine pancreas were restrictive to albumin and IgG. These results demonstrate the presence of fenestrated capillary beds, in addition to the choriocapillaris, that are restrictive to molecules with ESR ≥ 3.2 nm. Capillaries in the mucosa of the colon were restrictive to hemoglobin and ferritin but did not restrict albumin or IgG. This indicates that these vessels are of the permeable type. However, the rate of transendothelial movement of molecules is slower than that of other permeable vessels, such as in the ileo-jejunum. This study has provided further evidence for the existence of fenestrated endothelia that are restrictive to exogenous and/or endogenous molecules.