Loss of laminin epitopes during glomerular basement membrane assembly in developing mouse kidneys

J Histochem Cytochem. 1992 Dec;40(12):1943-53. doi: 10.1177/40.12.1280666.


Kidney glomerular basement membranes (GMBs) originate in development from fusion of a dual basement membrane between endothelial cells and primitive epithelial podocytes. After fusion, segments of newly synthesized matrix, derived primarily from podocytes, appear as subepithelial outpockets and are spliced into GBMs during glomerular capillary loop expansion. To investigate GBM assembly further, we examined newborn mouse kidneys with monoclonal rat anti-mouse laminin IgGs (MAb) conjugated to horseradish peroxidase (HRP). In adults, these MAb strongly label glomerular mesangial matrices but bind only weakly or not at all to mature GBMs. In contrast, anti-laminin MAb intensely bound newborn mouse GBMs undergoing initial assembly. After intraperitoneal injection of MAb-HRP into neonates, dense binding occurred across both subendothelial and subepithelial pre-fusion GMBs as well as forming mesangial matrices. Considerably less MAb binding was seen, however, in post-fusion GBMs from more mature glomeruli in the same section, although mesangial matrices remained positive. In addition, new subepithelial segments in areas of splicing were negative. These results conflict with those obtained previously with injections of polyclonal anti-laminin IgGs into newborns or adults, which result in complete labeling of all GBMs. Although epitope masking cannot be completely excluded, we believe that decreased MAb binding to developing GBM reflects actual epitope loss. This loss could occur by laminin isoform substitution, conformational change, and/or proteolytic processing during GBM assembly.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Aging / immunology
  • Aging / metabolism
  • Animals
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal
  • Basement Membrane / chemistry
  • Basement Membrane / physiology
  • Epitopes / analysis*
  • Epitopes / immunology
  • Epitopes / metabolism
  • Fluorescent Antibody Technique
  • Kidney Glomerulus / chemistry*
  • Kidney Glomerulus / growth & development*
  • Kidney Glomerulus / metabolism
  • Laminin / immunology*
  • Laminin / metabolism
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred BALB C
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Microscopy, Electron


  • Antibodies, Monoclonal
  • Epitopes
  • Laminin