Similar endothelial glycocalyx structures in microvessels from a range of mammalian tissues: evidence for a common filtering mechanism?

K. P. Arkill*, C. Knupp, C. C. Michel, C. R. Neal, K. Qvortrup, J. Rostgaard, J. M. Squire

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

55 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The glycocalyx or endocapillary layer on the luminal surface of microvessels has a major role in the exclusion of macromolecules from the underlying endothelial cells. Current structural evidence in the capillaries of frog mesentery indicates a regularity in the structure of the glycocalyx, with a center-to-center fiber spacing of 20 nm and a fiber width of 12 nnn, which might explain the observed macromolecular filtering properties. In this study, we used electron micrographs of tissues prepared using perfusion fixation and tannic acid treatment. The digitized images were analyzed using autocorrelation to find common spacings and to establish whether similar structures, hence mechanisms, are present in the microvessel glycocalyces of a variety of mammalian tissues. Continuous glycocalyx layers in mammalian microvessels of choroid, renal tubules, glomerulus, and psoas muscle all showed similar lateral spacings at similar to 19.5 nm (possibly in a quasitetragonal lattice) and longer spacings above 100 nm. Individual glycocalyx tufts above fenestrations in the first three of these tissues and also in stomach fundus and jejunum showed evidence for similar short-range structural regularity, but with more disorder. The fiber diameter was estimated as 18.8 (+/- 0.2) nm, but we believe this is an overestimate because of the staining method used. The implications of these findings are discussed.

Translated title of the contributionSimilar endothelial glycocalyx structures in microvessels from a range of mammalian tissues: evidence for a common filtering mechanism?
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1046-1056
Number of pages10
JournalBiophysical Journal
Volume101
Issue number5
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 7 Sep 2011

Keywords

  • ELECTRON-MICROSCOPY
  • SIEVE PLUGS
  • CAPILLARIES
  • PERMEABILITY
  • LAYER
  • PEROXIDASE
  • FILTRATION
  • FENESTRAE
  • FERRITIN
  • FLOW

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