Permeability and selectivity of rabbit small intestine were estimated by a perfusion technique after intra-arterial injection of histamine-type mediators and intestinal irradiation. It was shown that the histamine-type mediators caused an increase in capillary permeability which produced an overall moderate increase in transmucosal permeability with a moderate loss of selectivity. Local intestinal irradiation caused a very marked increase in permeability and a profound loss of selectivity. It was felt that this was produced partly by an increase in capillary permeability but largely by damage to the epithelial basement membrane. It is concluded that the intestinal capillary endothelium is both rate-limiting and selective, though not to a major degree in either case. The epithelial basement membrane, however, appears to be both rate-limiting and markedly selective.
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