We studied the effects of mesangial localization of polyvinyl alcohols (PVA) on glomerular basement membrane (GBM) thickness in inbred Lewis rats. To avoid possible influences of PVA redistribution after localization in liver, lung, and other organs, the kidneys of rats given PVA were transplanted into uninephrectomized normal rats. Normal kidneys transplanted into normal rats served as a control. GBM thickness at the time of transplantation was the same in PVA kidneys as in normal kidneys. However, by 18 weeks post-transplant GBM thickness was greater in PVA kidneys, and this increase was sustained at 30 weeks. Within the glomeruli of PVA kidneys, lobules with marked mesangial PVA accumulation had more marked GBM thickening than lobules with little or no PVA accumulation. It is concluded that changes within the mesangium can influence GBM thickness. Whether this represents a direct effect of mesangial architectural distortion, a consequence of local phlogistic activities such as the influx of macrophages into the mesangium of glomeruli with PVA localization, or the result of intraglomerular hemodynamic perturbations is unclear.
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Acknowledgments This work was supported by National Institutes of Health grants