Estimates of levels of glomerular and glomerular-basement-membrane anion charge should serve as useful quantitative markers for the integrity of the tissues in health and disease. We have developed a simple, rapid, technique to measure this charge through the use of ion exchange with radioisotopes 22Na+ and 36Cl- at low ionic strengths in phosphate buffer. When this technique is used, normal glomeruli isolated from rat have a measured net anion charge concentration of 17.4 +/- 3.7 p-equiv. per glomerulus (n = 20). Perfused rat kidneys that lose approximately half of their glomerular heparan [35S]sulphate content (owing to oxygen-radical damage) exhibited a lower anion charge, of 7.5 +/- 1.6 p-equiv. per glomerulus (n = 5). Glomerular basement membranes prepared from rat glomeruli by a sonication-centrifugation procedure in the presence of enzyme inhibitors had a charge concentration of 6.3 +/- 0.7 mu-equiv./g wet wt. of tissue (n = 4), whereas membranes prepared by sonication, centrifugation, DNAse and detergent treatment had a charge concentration of 7.1 +/- 1.6 mu-equiv./g wet wt. (n = 4). Isotope-dilution experiments with 3H2O on these detergent-prepared glomerular basement membranes demonstrated that they had a water content of approx. 93%, which would then give a net anion charge concentration of 7.6 +/- 1.7 m-equiv./l (n = 4). These values are in good agreement with those obtained by others using titration techniques [Bray and Robinson (1984) Kidney Int. 25, 527-533]. The relatively low magnitude of glomerular anion charge in normal kidneys is consistent with other recent findings that glomerular anion charge is too low to affect the glomerular transport of charged molecules in a direct, passive, biophysical manner through electrostatic interactions.

This content is only available as a PDF.
You do not currently have access to this content.