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Biophys J. 1966 Jan;6(1):71-85.

Anisometric transport of ions and particles in anisotropic tissue spaces.


The results of time-lapse measurements and electron microscopic observations on the diffusion of histological dyes, colloidal particles, and heavy metal salts in excised chicken breast tendon are reported. In all cases, the transport was found to be anisometric, the extent of the spreading being much greater parallel than perpendicular to the collagen fibers. The diffusion of colloidal gold was shown to be governed by a random diffusion process, with coefficients of 3 to 5 x 10(-7) and 1 to 2 x 10(-7) cm(2)/sec for the parallel and perpendicular directions, respectively; the anisotropy was attributed to steric hindrance. In the diffusion of uranyl nitrate, a sharp boundary appeared at the leading edge of the diffusate and advanced at a rate proportional to the square root of time. Electron micrographs showed uranyl nitrate clusters localized in space on the surface of the collagen fibrils and tightly bound to the polar amino acid regions of the macromolecule. A model was proposed involving diffusion with attrition, and predicted a sharp boundary advancing proportionally to the square root of time and to the 0.65 power of the initial diffusate concentration. Application of the model to the experimental results for uranyl nitrate gave a diffusion coefficient of 10 x 10(-7) and 4 x 10(-7) cm(2)/sec for the parallel and perpendicular directions, respectively, and a possible explanation of this large difference was advanced. The importance of anisometric transport in anisotropic tissues was indicated.

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