Ultrastructural study of glomerular capillary loops at different perfusion pressures as revealed by quick-freezing, freeze-substitution and conventional fixation methods

Nephron. 1997;76(4):452-9. doi: 10.1159/000190228.


Wistar rat kidneys were perfused with some fixatives at different pressures of 100, 150, 200 or 250 cm H2O via the aorta and were studied by the quick-freezing and freeze-substitution (QF-FS) or deep-etching (QF-DE) methods, in addition to the conventional immersion or perfusion fixation method. Different parts of glomerular capillary walls were selected for morphometric analyses. It was demonstrated that the widths of glomerular slit diaphragms and the spaces between foot processes were more widely dilated at higher perfusion pressures (200 and 250 cm H2O) than those seen at both normal perfusion pressure (150 cm H2O) and lower perfusion pressure (100 cm H2O). On the other hand, the glomerular basement membranes were thinner at higher perfusion pressures. By the QF-FS and QF-DE methods, the foot processes showed different shapes from those revealed by the conventional preparation methods, even at the same perfusion pressure. It is concluded that the widths of glomerular slit diaphragms and glomerular basement membranes and the spaces between foot processes may be significantly changed in vivo, depending on the hemodynamics in the glomerular capillary.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Basement Membrane / ultrastructure
  • Capillaries / ultrastructure
  • Freeze Etching
  • Freeze Substitution
  • Kidney Glomerulus / blood supply
  • Kidney Glomerulus / ultrastructure*
  • Male
  • Microscopy, Electron
  • Perfusion
  • Pressure
  • Rats
  • Rats, Wistar
  • Renal Circulation
  • Tissue Fixation