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International Journal of Experimental Diabetes Research
Volume 1 (2000), Issue 1, Pages 19-30

Glomerular Basement Membrane Selective Permeability in Short-term Streptozotocin-induced Diabetic Rats

1Department of Pathology and Cell Biology, Université de Montréal, Montreal, Québec H3C 3J7, Canada
2Anatomo-Pathology, Universidad de Sevilla, Sevilla, Spain
3Département de Pathologie et Biologie Cellulaire, Université de Montréal, Succursale Centre-ville, C.P. 6128, Montréal, Québec H3C 3J7, Canada

Received 15 May 1999; Accepted 24 August 1999

Copyright © 2000 Hindawi Publishing Corporation. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


In diabetes, the glomerular basement membrane undergoes thickening and structural alterations with loss of glomerular permselectivity properties. However, the onset of the alterations at early phases of diabetes is unclear. Aiming to determine the functional and structural alterations of the glomerular wall in the early stages of diabetes, we have studied the distribution of endogenous circulating albumin and type IV collagen in the glomerular basement membrane, using the immunocytochemical approach. The streptozotocin-injected hyperglycemic rat was our animal model. Renal tissues were examined after 10 days, 2, 4 and 6 months of hyperglycemia. Upon immunogold labelings, changes in the glomerular permeability to endogenous albumin were found altered as early as upon ten days of hyperglycemia. In contrast, no structural modifications were detected at this time point. Indeed, glomerular basement membrane thickening and an altered type IV collagen labeling distribution were only observed after four months of hyperglycemia, suggesting that functional alterations take place early in diabetes prior to any structural modification. In order to evaluate the reversibility of the glomerular alterations, two-month-old diabetic animals were treated with insulin. These animals showed a significant restoring of their glomerular permselectivity. Our results suggest a link between glycemic levels and alteration of glomerular permeability in early stages of diabetes, probably through high levels of glycated serum proteins.