Permselectivity of the Glomerular Capillary Wall to Macromolecules. I. Theoretical Considerations

Biophys J. 1975 Sep;15(9):861-86. doi: 10.1016/S0006-3495(75)85862-0.


The transport of macromolecules across the renal glomerular capillary wall has been described theoretically using flux equations based on (a) restricted transport through small pores, and (b) the Kedem-Katchalsky formulation. The various assumptions and limitations inherent in these two approaches are discussed. To examine the coupling between macromolecular solute transport and the determinants of glomerular filtration rate, these flux equations were combined with mass balance relations which allow for variations in the transmembrane driving forces along a glomerular capillary. It was predicted, using both pore theory and the Kedem-Katchalsky equations, that fractional solute clearance should be strongly dependent on the determinants of glomerular filtration rate when convection and diffusion both contribute to solute transport. When convection becomes the sole mechanism for transcapillary solute transport, however, fractional solute clearance is essentially independent of changes in the determinants of glomerular filtration rate. Consequently, unless diffusion is absent, fractional solute clearances alone are insufficient to characterize the permselective properties of the glomerular capillary wall, since these values may be altered by changes in glomerular pressures and flows as well as changes in the properties of the capillary wall per se.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Biological Transport
  • Biopolymers
  • Blood Flow Velocity
  • Capillary Permeability*
  • Glomerular Filtration Rate
  • Kidney Glomerulus / blood supply
  • Kidney Glomerulus / metabolism*
  • Mathematics
  • Models, Biological
  • Rats


  • Biopolymers