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J Cell Biol. 1967 Jul;34(1):207-17.

Fine structural localization of a blood-brain barrier to exogenous peroxidase.


Horseradish peroxidase was administered to mice by intravenous injection, and its distribution in cerebral cortex studied with a recently available technique for localizing peroxidase with the electron microscope. Brains were fixed by either immersion or vascular perfusion 10-60 min after administration of various doses of peroxidase. Exogenous peroxidase was localized in the lumina of blood vessels and in some micropinocytotic vesicles within endothelial cells; none was found beyond the vascular endothelium. Micropinocytotic vesicles were few in number and did not appear to transport peroxidase while tight junctions between endothelial cells were probably responsible for preventing its intercellular passage. Our findings therefore localize, at a fine structural level, a "barrier" to the passage of peroxidase at the endothelium of vessels in the cerebral cortex. The significance of these findings is discussed, particularly with reference to a recent study in which similar techniques were applied to capillaries in heart and skeletal muscle.

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