Molecular sieve in glomerular basement membrane as revealed by electron microscopy

Zensuke Ota, Hirofumi Makino, Akira Miyoshi, Makoto Hiramatsu, Kayo Takahashi, Tadashi Ofuji

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Citations (Scopus)


In order to clarify ultrastructural details, electron microscopic observations using negative staining were performed on unfixed human and bovine glomerular basement membranes isolated by a modified method of Spiro. The basement membranes were shown to have a definite fine three-dimentional meshwork structure composed of strands and pores, resembling a children's "jungle gym." The strand was almost equal in width, measuring 1.25 nm in human and 1.51 nm in bovine. The pore was round or polygonal in shape, measuring approximately 2.73 nm in diameter in human and approximately 4 nm in bovine. The entire meshwork structure in the glomerular basement membranes was presumed to be "woven" three-dimensionally with numerous single or at most a few bundled long molecules. The results obtained may provide the morphological basis for the theory that the main filtration barrier in the glomerulus is the basement membrane.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)20-28
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Electron Microscopy
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1979


  • Filtration
  • Glomerular basement membrane
  • Sieve

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Instrumentation


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