Several recent studies comparing chemically fixed and cryofixed endothelium have indicated that glutaraldehyde fixation may result in increases in the population of "vesicles" in the cytoplasm. Other reports based on ultrathin serial-section reconstruction of chemically fixed endothelium have revealed that the vesicular system is comprised of interconnected membranous compartments, which are ultimately continuous with either cell surface but do not extend across the endothelial cell. In this study, we have investigated the three-dimensional organization of the vesicular system in directly frozen, freeze-substituted capillaries of the rete mirabile from the swim bladder of the eel, specifically using the same block of embedded capillaries in which frozen capillaries had previously been found to contain less "vesicles" than chemically fixed capillaries. The results show that essentially all vesicles remain interconnected with each other and are part of two separate sets of invaginations from the luminal and abluminal cell surface like in chemically fixed tissue. Any increase in vesicle number resulting from glutaraldehyde fixation does not affect the overall three-dimensional organization of the vesicular system in these endothelial cells.