Fixed anionic sites within the glomerular capillary wall influence the permeation of serum proteins, the localization of various antigens, and the deposition of antibody in the subepithelial space. In anti-GBM nephritis antibody deposition occurs very rapidly to antigenic sites located relatively proximal in the glomerular capillary wall. We examined the influence of the glomerular charge barrier on anti-GBM antibody deposition by comparing the rate of deposition of antibodies with cationic and anionic isoelectric points. Purified sheep anti-rat GBM IgG was isolated from acid eluates of kidneys obtained 24 hr after rats were injected with sheep antiserum to rat GBM. Anti-GBM IgG was separated into cationic (pI 6.4-8.5) and anionic (pI 4.2-6.8) fractions, which were radiolabelled with 131I and 125I, respectively, shown to have equal antibody contents measured by in vitro binding to normal glomeruli, mixed in equal amounts, and injected in incremental doses to ten rats. At 1 hr the glomerular antibody binding of each fraction was directly related to the blood level (r = 0.95, r = 0.97) and delivery of antibody (r = 0.98, r = 0.98). Glomerular binding of cationic antibody was four times greater than anionic antibody over the entire range of deliveries studied (P < 0.001). We conclude that glomerular deposition of anti-GMB antibody is directly related to blood concentration and delivery of antibody. Furthermore, the deposition of cationic antibodies to GBM antigens was significantly greater than the deposition of anionic antibodies. The charge-selective glomerular filtration barrier may be an important determinant of the quantity and subclass composition of anti-GBM IgG deposits in glomeruli, and therefore of the severity of tissue injury produced.
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