Cell and Tissue Research

, Volume 242, Issue 1, pp 33–39 | Cite as

Ultrastructural organization of the glomerular basement membrane as revealed by a deep-etch replica method

  • Hitoshi Kubosawa
  • Yoichiro Kondo


The fine structure of the glomerular basement membrane was re-evaluated by using a deep-etch replica method.

The structure of the laminae rarae interna and externa of the rat glomerular basement membrane was basically identical in that 6 to 8 nm fibrils were interconnected to form a three-dimensional, polygonal network. The size of the mesh was quite variable but most often ranged from 20 to 25 nm in width. In addition, a zipper-like substructure of the epithelial slit diaphragm was observed. By contrast, the lamina densa was composed of closely packed particles.

After exposure of the bovine glomerular basement membrane to ultrasonic waves or trypsin, the particles of the lamina densa were effectively removed. The underlying structure showed the fibrillar network closely resembled that seen in the laminae rarae of the rat glomerular basement membrane.

The glomerular basement membrane thus revealed was as principally composed of a fibrillar network, which might be regularly arranged units of type-IV collagen. Numerous fine particles, most likely proper components of the glomerular basement membrane, were attached onto this basic fibrillar structure, giving rise to a morphologic appearance different from that of the laminae rarae.

Key words

Deep-etching Glomerular basement membrane Epithelial slit diaphragm Ultrasonic waves Trypsin Rat 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1985

Authors and Affiliations

  • Hitoshi Kubosawa
    • 1
  • Yoichiro Kondo
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PathologySchool of Medicine, Chiba UniversityChibaJapan

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