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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Ultrastructural distribution of terbium across capillary endothelium: detection by electron spectroscopic imaging and electron energy loss spectroscopy.

We used terbium as an intravital tracer of permeability pathways across the walls of capillaries in the rete mirabile of the eel swimbladder and in frog mesentery. Terbium was detected in unstained ultra-thin sections by electron density using electron spectroscopic imaging (ESI) and by electron energy loss spectroscopy (EELS). Enhancement of intrinsic contrast in zero loss images (elastically scattered electrons) permitted imaging of membrane-bound compartments and terbium within them which might otherwise have been undetected in counterstained sections. Element-selective imaging with EELS indicated that terbium was associated with heavy electron-dense deposits, but the terbium mass:volume of sections in areas of lighter deposition was insufficient to obtain a terbium signal. In the rete capillaries, terbium was deposited on the luminal surface, throughout vesicular profiles, and in the interstitium, but could not be traced through interendothelial junctions. Fine terbium deposits were detectable throughout apparent vesicular connections across the endothelium. In the frog mesentery, terbium penetrated some but not all interendothelial clefts, and was detectable in small quantities within luminal and abluminal vesicular profiles and in the interstitium. The results indicate that in the rete capillaries, terbium permeates the capillary via a transcellular route. This route may be provided by transient fusions of luminal and abluminal vesicular compartments.[1]


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