Decreased anionic sites in Bruch's membrane of spontaneous and drug-induced diabetes

R. B. Caldwell, S. M. Slapnick, B. J. McLaughlin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


The basal laminae of capillaries, glomeruli, and nerves are thickened in diabetes. Previous studies have shown that diabetic tissues produce increased levels of basal lamina collagen and reduced levels of proteoglycans. Since heparan sulfate and chondroitin sulfate proteoglycans are thought to act as anionic barriers regulating passage of proteins across Bruch's membrane of the eye, the cationic electron microscope tracers, polyethyleneimine (PEI) and ruthenium red, were used to study the distribution of anionic sites in Bruch's membrane of spontaneously diabetic Bio-Breeding/Worcester (BB-W) rats and streptozotocin-diabetic rats. The distribution of the two tracers is similar. In Bruch's membrane of control rats, electron dense particles are present at regular intervals along both sides of the basal laminae of the retinal pigment epithelium (RPE) and of the choriocapillary endothelium (CE), and along collagen fibers in the zone between the two basal laminae. Within 3-6 months after the onset of hyperglycemia in both diabetic rat models, quantitative analysis shows a significant reduction in binding sites along both RPE and CE basal laminae, while thickness of both basal laminae is significantly increased. Because reductions in anionic binding sites along basal laminae in the renal glomerulus have been found to accompany changes in glomerular filtration, these changes suggest that filtration through Bruch's membrane is altered in diabetes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1691-1697
Number of pages7
JournalInvestigative Ophthalmology and Visual Science
Issue number12
StatePublished - 1986
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ophthalmology
  • Sensory Systems
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience


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