Starling’s hypothesis that fluid movement across the microvascular wall is determined by the transmural differences in hydrostatic and osmotic pressures was tested using an in vitro model comprised of bovine aortic endothelial cells grown on a porous support. In all experiments, a 1% bovine serum albumin (BSA) solution was maintained in the abluminal reservoir and the luminal reservoir contained either a 1 or a 5.5% BSA solution. The global osmotic pressure difference across the endothelial layers was thus either 0 or 20.3 cm H<sub>2</sub>O. When the luminal concentration of BSA was changed from 1 to 5.5% at a hydrostatic pressure differential of 5, 10 or 20 cm H<sub>2</sub>O, no reverse flow (in the reabsorption direction) was observed even though the hydrostatic pressure differential was far below the global osmotic pressure differential. In another case, the hydrostatic pressure differential was dropped quickly from 20 to 5 cm H<sub>2</sub>O, while a constant osmotic pressure differential was maintained by 5.5% BSA in the luminal reservoir. A strong transient reabsorption flow was observed over a 30-second period which diminished to undetectable levels within 2.5 min; then a sustained steady-state filtration flow was observed after 20 min. These in vitro experiments support other studies in capillaries showing transient reabsorption that decays to steady-state filtration at longer times.