Basement membranes contain distinct collagen, glycoprotein and proteoglycan species, and these exhibit considerable heterogeneity in isoform or type when different tissue types are compared. Additionally, many components are differentially expressed in organogenesis. We have considered the distributions in glomerulogenesis of two distinct basement membrane proteoglycans, a small heparan sulfate proteoglycan and a chondroitin sulfate proteoglycan (BM-CSPG). While the former was present in all kidney basement membranes through development, the latter was apparently regulated in distribution. BM-CSPG was only strongly expressed in the vasculature invading late comma stage glomeruli, and later in presumptive and mature Bowman's capsule. Over the first six to eight weeks, the capillary basement membranes contained BM-CSPG, but in gradually decreasing amounts until it became completely undetectable. The basement membrane of the adult rat glomerulus is unique in its lack of BM-CSPG. However, in diabetic rats, BM-CSPG is apparently re-expressed in the glomerular basement membrane, a potential marker for pathological changes in glomerular structure. While its function awaits elucidation, BM-CSPG may be essential for basement membrane integrity or stability and have important roles in kidney development.
Keywords: Animals; Basement Membrane; Diabetes Mellitus, Experimental; Heparan Sulfate Proteoglycans; Heparitin Sulfate; Kidney; Microscopy, Immunoelectron; Proteochondroitin Sulfates; Proteoglycans; Rats; Tissue Distribution