The anionic macromolecules at the glomerular endothelial cell surface are visualized only when stained with cationic stains. We investigated the arrangement and composition of this anionic matrix at the luminal surface. Rat kidneys were perfused with anionic ferritin (pI 4.5), ferritin (pI 7.4), or cationized ferritin (CF, pI 8.3). Anionic ferritin (pI 4.5) did not bind to the capillary wall, ferritin (pI 7.4) bound discontinuously only to the laminae rarae of the basement membrane, but cationized ferritin (CF, pI 8.3) bound as a thick continuous layer to the cell plasmalemma and bound to the anionic matrix in the fenestral spaces. These observations show that an anionic matrix lines the entire capillary lumen surface, fills the fenestrae, and is interposed between the blood and the basement membrane at the fenestrae. The anionic constituents at the capillary luminal surface were identified by in vivo digestion with specific enzymes. Absence of CF binding following digestion with specific enzymes was taken to indicate the presence of the particular glycoprotein known to be susceptible to the enzyme used. Neuraminidase digestion revealed that anionic sites over the surface plasmalemma are mainly from sialoproteins. In contrast, the matrix in fenestral channels contains heparan sulfate, hyaluronic acid, and sialoproteins. Papain digestion showed no glycolipids at the luminal surface. The functions of this continuous anionic layer located at the luminal surface of glomerular capillaries have not yet been established.