High-resolution ultrastructural comparison of renal glomerular and tubular basement membranes

Saeko Ogawa, Zensuke Ota, Kenichi Shikata, Kazue Hironaka, Yoshiko Hayashi, Kosuke Ota, Masahiko Kushiro, Nobuyuki Miyatake, Noboru Kishimoto, Hirofumi Makino

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Citations (Scopus)


Background/Aims: Glomerular basement membranes (GBM) and tubular basement membranes (TBM) consist of a fine meshwork composed mainly of type IV collagen. Each segment of tubules has specialized physiologic functions, and thus we investigated the ultrastructure of various basement membranes in rat kidneys. Methods: Since purifying basement membranes from different tubule segments is technically challenging, we employed tissue negative staining rather than conventional negative staining to compare the ultrastructures of proximal and distal TBM and GBM in normal rats. We also assessed the distribution of extracellular matrix components including type IV collagen, laminin, heparan sulfate proteoglycan, and fibronectin in the basement membranes by immunohistochemistry. Results: TBM and GBM of normal rats showed a fine meshwork structure consisting of fibrils forming small round to oval pores. Short- and long-pore diameters in proximal tubules were 3.3 ± 0.5 and 3.9 ± 0.6 nm, respectively, and in distal tubules 3.5 ± 0.7 and 4.3 ± 0.8 nm, respectively. For GBM the respective diameters were 2.5 ± 0.5 and 3.0 ± 0.5 nm. Immunohistochemical analysis showed no significant difference in distribution of extracellular matrix components between proximal and distal TBM. However, immunofluorescence scores of α1 chain of type IV collagen, fibronectin, and laminin were higher in the TBM than in the GBM. On the other hand, heparan sulfate proteoglycan was higher in the GBM. Conclusion: Ultrastructural differences in renal basement membranes may be related to differences in physiologic function in each segment.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)686-693
Number of pages8
JournalAmerican Journal of Nephrology
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1 1999


  • Glomerular basement membrane
  • Renal ultrastructure
  • Tissue negative staining
  • Tubular basement membrane

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nephrology


Dive into the research topics of 'High-resolution ultrastructural comparison of renal glomerular and tubular basement membranes'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this