Fluid absorption by Necturus small intestine has been studied using radiolabeled dextrans as molecular probes of the paracellular pathway under voltage-clamped conditions. Fluxes of H3-dextrans of MW up to 20K were followed in both directions between mucosal (M) and serosal (S) baths by fractionating those that passed the epithelium as a function of molecular radius. Consideration of the unstirred layers in the baths and the surface geometry rules out any contribution made by solute polarization. The geometry of the paracellular system was measured by light microscopy, TEM and SEM, and values were used in conjunction with a program that calculates convective-diffusive coupling in the tight junctions, intercellular spaces and subepithelium in series. The results indicate that the net fluxes are due to the convection of fluid through two opposing paracellular fluid circuits with different size selectivity, resulting in net absorption at small radii.
The Journal of Membrane Biology – Springer Journals
Published: Jul 15, 1997
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