A model for interpreting the tracer labeling of interendothelial clefts

Bingmei Fu, Fitz Roy E Curry, Roger H. Adamson, Sheldon Weinbaum

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

39 Scopus citations


We extended the model describing the low molecular weight electron dense tracer wake in the interendothelial cleft and surrounding tissue to describe the time-dependent transport of intermediate size solutes of 1.0-3.5 nm radius by convection and diffusion in an interendothelial cleft containing a fiber matrix. This model provides a quantitative basis on which to reinterpret electron microscopic studies of the distribution of tracers such as horseradish peroxidase (HRP; molecular weight=40,000; Stokes radius =3.0 nm) along the interendothelial cell cleft from the lumen to the tissue for example, we show that, in contrast to our results with low molecular weight tracers, the wake of large molecular weight tracers on the abluminal side of the junctional strand is not likely to be detected, because the concentration of the tracer is predicted to be very low in most experiments. Thus the lack of a tracer such as HRP on the abluminal side of the junctional strand and in the tissue is not as strong evidence against the presence of a cleft pathway as suggested previously. The model does provide the basis for the design of experiments to locate both the principal molecular sieve and breaks in the junctional strand from the standing gradient on the luminal side of the junctional strand. An important experimental variable is the pressure in the vessel lumen which can be varied between 0 and 30 cm H2O to change the contributions of diffusive and convective transport to transcapillary exchange through the interendothelial cleft. This approach will also allow the testing of models for transcapillary pathways for large molecules by measuring the distribution of fluorescent tracers across the microvessel wall and in the tissue surrounding the microvessel using confocal microscopy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)375-397
Number of pages23
JournalAnnals of Biomedical Engineering
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 1997


  • Fiber matrix
  • Frog mesenteric capillary
  • High molecular weight tracers
  • Junction strand
  • Ultrafiltration

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biomedical Engineering


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