Increased urinary albumin excretion is a key feature of glomerular disease but has limitations as a measure of glomerular permeability. Here we describe a novel assay to measure the apparent albumin permeability of single capillaries in glomeruli, isolated from perfused kidneys cleared of red blood cells. The rate of decline of the albumin concentration within the capillary lumen was quantified using confocal microscopy and used to calculate apparent permeability. The assay was extensively validated and provided robust, reproducible estimates of glomerular albumin permeability. These values were comparable with previous in vivo data, showing this assay could be applied to human as well as rodent glomeruli. To confirm this, we showed that targeted endothelial glycocalyx disruption resulted in increased glomerular albumin permeability in mice. Furthermore, incubation with plasma from patients with post-transplant recurrence of nephrotic syndrome increased albumin permeability in rat glomeruli compared to remission plasma. Finally, in glomeruli isolated from rats with early diabetes there was a significant increase in albumin permeability and loss of endothelial glycocalyx, both of which were ameliorated by angiopoietin-1. Thus, a glomerular permeability assay, producing physiologically relevant values with sufficient sensitivity to measure changes in glomerular permeability and independent of tubular function, was developed and validated. This assay significantly advances the ability to study biology and disease in rodent and human glomeruli.
- endothelial glycocalyx
- glomerular permeability
- steroid-resistant nephrotic syndrome plasma