We have used selective casting methods to separate pulmonary elastin from vascular elastin in the lungs of rabbits, dogs and pigs. The lungs are digested with 0.1 N NaOH at 75 degrees C for 24 approximately 48 hours with frequent turning as the lungs are filled with air to about 80% of the vital capacity prior to the casting which is done at pressure of 20 approximately 50 mmHg. After vascular injections, we saw many small globular bits of casting material well separated from cast vessels and lying in the pulmonary elastin. Surface forces should make the casting material creep along the vessels even if they are not completely filled, so that the spherical shape is the one expected if the case is extruded into the parenchymal space and the air space. We conclude that this suggests that the pulmonary circulation is partially and temporarily 'open' as seen in the spleen and some other organs, rather than a completely 'closed' one as is generally accepted. At least some of these extravasations may be associated with lymphatics, although we have not proved this.
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