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Influence Of Molecular Configuration On The Passage Of Macromolecules Across The Glomerular Capillary Wall.

M P Bohrer, W M Deen, C R Robertson, J L Troy, B M Brenner

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The influence of molecular configuration on the filtration of macromolecules across glomerular capillary walls was examined by comparing fractional clearances of two uncharged polysaccharides of distinctly different molecular configuration in the Munich-Wistar rat. The macromolecules employed were dextran, a slightly branched polymer of glucopyranose, and ficoll, a highly cross-linked copolymer of sucrose and epichlorohydrin. Differences in effective shape between these two polymers were determined from measurements of several physical properties of aqueous solutions containing either dextran or ficoll. It was found that dextran is best represented as a prolate ellipsoid with axial ratios of 4, 9, and 16 for molecules with Stokes-Einstein radii of 22, 32, and 40 A, respectively. On the other hand, ficoll is more closely approximated as spherical since the axial ratio was found to be between 1 and 2 for all molecular sizes. Fractional clearances of dextran and ficoll ranging in effective radius from 18 to 44 A were determined in each of seven Munich-Wistar rats. Fractional clearances of dextran were found to be greater than those of ficoll, the difference being significant for molecular radii ranging from 24 to 44 A. In addition, as shown previously for dextran, ficoll was found to be neither secreted nor reabsorbed by the renal tubules. These results, therefore, suggest that in addition to molecular size and charge, molecular configuration is also a determinant of the filtration of macromolecules across the glomerular capillary wall.