Wistar/Furth rats were made nephrotic by daily administration of amino-nucleoside of puromycin, and the ultrastructural localization of horseradish peroxidase (mol wt 40,000) in the renal glomerulus was studied from 1 min to 20 hr after intravenous injection of the tracer. In control rats, peroxidase permeated the endothelial fenestrae, the basement membrane, and the epithelial slits, and was present in tubular lumina. Nephrotic glomeruli showed relatively normal basement membranes, extensive fusion of foot processes with formation of "close" intercellular junctions, and large vacuoles and pockets in epithelial cells. On serial sections some of the epithelial vacuoles communicated on one side with the extracellular space overlying basement membrane, and on the other side with the urinary space. In nephrotic animals, peroxidase permeated the basement membrane and the close junctions, and was present in many of the vacuoles and pockets as early as 1 min after injection. Only small numbers of peroxidase-positive vacuoles remained in. epithelial cells 1 hr or more after injection of the tracer. It is suggested that the epithelial pockets and vacuoles form pathways across which leaking proteins can be transferred across the epithelium into the urinary space. Epithelial vacuoles may also be absorption droplets designed to "conserve" leaking proteins, but this function was not prominent in our experiments with peroxidase.

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