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Studies of the permeation properties of glomerular basement membrane: cross-linking renders glomerular basement membrane permeable to protein

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

H A Walton, J Byrne, G B Robinson

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)173-83
Number of pages11
JournalBiochimica et Biophysica Acta
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 20 Mar 1992

King's Authors


Cross-linking glomerular basement membrane (GBM) has been shown to render it more permeable to protein. Isolated pig GBM was cross-linked with dimethylmalonimidate which reacts selectively with lysine epsilon-NH2 groups or with glutaraldehyde, a less selective cross-linking agent. Studies of the ultrafiltration properties of these materials in vitro using cytochrome c, myoglobin, bovine serum albumin and immunoglobulin showed that cross-linking had markedly increased solvent and protein fluxes as compared with native membranes particularly at higher pressures. Filtration studies with serum demonstrated that the cross-linked membranes were more permeable to serum proteins. Thickness measurements under pressure indicated that cross-linked membrane was less compressed than native membrane as pressure was increased. Pore theory did not provide a suitable model for analysis of the results, but analysis of the results using the fibre-matrix hypothesis indicated that cross-linking had the effect of bundling together the fibres (type IV collagen) in the GBM matrix. The effect of cross-linking on filtration could be explained by a combination of contraction of the membrane, fibre bundling and increased rigidity compared with native membrane. Cross-linking of GBM might lead to long-term damage of the glomerular capillary wall in nephritis, so promoting proteinuria.

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