Heparan sulfate proteoglycans are lost in patients with diabetic nephropathy

Nephron. 1992;61(4):415-21. doi: 10.1159/000186959.


The pathogenesis of diabetic nephropathy relative to the changes in the glomerular extracellular matrices was investigated. Renal tissues from 10 diabetic patients were immunostained with antibodies directed against heparan sulfate proteoglycans (HS-PGs), laminin, type IV collagen and fibronectin. Seven patients were nephrotic and had advanced glomerulosclerosis with nodular lesion, while the other 3 had no renal manifestations or minor glomerular tissue alterations. Controls included kidneys removed from patients with renal tumors and specimens obtained by renal biopsy from patients with IgA nephropathy. Relationships among proteinuria, intensity of fluorescence and glomerular changes were studied. In diabetes 3 patients with minor glomerular lesions were found to have no changes in various components of extracellular matrices. A marked reduction in the intensity of staining with anti-HS-PG antibodies was observed in renal specimens from patients with nodular glomerulosclerosis and proteinuria, while a mild decrease in the intensity of fluorescence was observed in tissues stained with antilaminin antibodies. An increase compared to normal control sample findings in type IV collagen and fibronectin was observed in the mesangium of sclerosing glomeruli. No loss of HS-PG was observed in patients with IgA nephropathy. These results indicate that glomerular extracellular matrix HS-PG is lost in association with diabetic nephropathy; this loss results in alteration of the charge-selective properties of glomerular capillaries. This alteration may, in part, be the cause of the proteinuria associated with diabetic nephropathy.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Collagen / metabolism
  • Diabetic Nephropathies / etiology
  • Diabetic Nephropathies / metabolism*
  • Extracellular Matrix / metabolism
  • Female
  • Fibronectins / metabolism
  • Fluorescent Antibody Technique
  • Heparan Sulfate Proteoglycans
  • Heparitin Sulfate / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Kidney Glomerulus / metabolism
  • Laminin / metabolism
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Proteoglycans / metabolism*


  • Fibronectins
  • Heparan Sulfate Proteoglycans
  • Laminin
  • Proteoglycans
  • Collagen
  • Heparitin Sulfate