Histochemical localization of protein-polysaccharides in renal tissue

S. Saraswathi, J. V. Tesoriero, N. S. Vasan

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The purpose of this study was to investigate the distribution of protein-polysaccharides in the glomerular and non-glomerular regions of the nephron. The techniques used include the digestion of kidney slices with specific polysaccharidases: neuraminidase, hyaluronidase, chondroitinase ABC, and collagenase followed by several cytochemical techniques to identify the glycosaminoglycans and glycoproteins at the light and electron microscope levels. Differential staining of hyaluronic acid and sulphated glycosaminoglycans was accomplished with Alcian Blue at pH 2.5 and pH 0.5, respectively. Sialoproteins were stained with Alcian Blue at pH 2.5. The periodic acid Schiff's reaction technique was employed for the visualization of collagen. At the electron microscope level the polysaccharides were identified with the periodic acid-chromic acid-silver methenamine reaction. Our results indicated that the major polysaccharide components of the glomerular basement membrane were sialoproteins and collagen, with smaller amounts of hyaluronic acid and various sulphated glycosaminoglycans. Hyaluronidase digestion resulted in partial detachment of epithelial processes from the glomerular basement membrane indicating the hyaluronic acid may have a role in the stability of the attachment of these processes. Tubular basement membranes also contain sialoproteins and sulphated glycosaminoglycans but in considerably lower concentrations than the glomerular basement membrane. Bowman's capsule appears to contain mostly sulphated glycosaminoglycans and has a lower concentration of sialoproteins and hyaluronic acid.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)245-256
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Biosciences
Issue number1-4
StatePublished - Mar 1987
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • General Agricultural and Biological Sciences


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