In the present study the tight junctions at the macula densa were compared to those of the adjacent straight and convoluted segments of the distal tubule using freeze fracturing and thin sectioning techniques. Only insignificant differences were found in the number of strands and the apico-basal depth of the tight junctions in the three distal tubular segments of rat, dog and tree shrew. In experiments with horseradish peroxidase on mice and tree shrews, the tracer did not penetrate the apical junctions in any of the distal tubular segments. Our findings do not support the concept of considerably higher permeability of the tight junctions at the macula densa, as previously reported. Gap junctions were never observed in the distal nephron. The present results suggest that the glomerulo-tubular feedback is more likely to be mediated by transcellular resorption of solutes than by passive diffusion through a leaky paracellular shunt pathway.