Local differentiations within the endothelium of both muscular (diaphragm, myocardium) and visceral (pancreas, jejunal villi) capillaries have been studied in rats on sectioned and freeze-cleaved preparations. Four distinct parts have been recognized in the endothelial cells of all these vessels on the basis of subcellular components present in each part and on the basis of variations in the local frequency of plasmalemmal vesicles: (a) the parajunctional zone, (b) the peripheral zone, (c) the organelle region, and (d) the nuclear region. Our data indicate that ∼16, ∼7.0, and 8.5% of the endothelial cytoplasmic volume (in the peripheral zone) is accounted for by vesicles, their content, and their membranes, respectively. The average density of vesicular openings per µm2 is 78 in diaphragm, 89 in myocardium, 25 in pancreas, and 10 in jejunal mucosa capillaries. The frequency of fenestrae is 1.7 times as high in jejunal (26/µm2) as in pancreatic capillaries (15/µm2), the corresponding fractional areas being ∼9.5 and ∼6%, respectively, of the endothelial surface. Intercellular spaces occupy a relatively small area (∼0.08 to 0.2%) of the inner endothelial surface.

This content is only available as a PDF.