The effects of glycation of either albumin, a plasma protein, or GBM were examined in an in vitro model of GBM permeability. Albumin was incubated with glucose in vitro, and nonglycated and glycated albumin were separated by affinity chromatography. Rat GBM was glycated either in vivo after the induction of diabetes or in vitro after incubation with 25 mM glucose. 150 μg of GBM was consolidated in an ultrafiltration cell, and albumin permeability across the GBM filter was assessed at an applied pressure (50 mmHg) selected to approximate glomerular capillary pressure in vivo. The sieving coefficient of glycated albumin was greater than the sieving coefficient of nonglycated albumin (0.25 ± 0.03 vs. 0.10 ± 0.02; P < 0.05). GBM glycated in vivo in diabetic rats exhibited native albumin and water permeability that was indistinguishable from that for GBM from control rats. Similarly, GBM glycated in vitro by incubation with 25 mM glucose exhibited water and albumin permeability identical to that for GBM incubated in buffer. Thus, the glycation of albumin, but not of GBM, leads to enhanced permeability in an in vitro GBM filtration system. Increased permeability of glycated albumin may contribute to albuminuria and/or renal injury in states of increased circulating glycated albumin such as diabetes and experimental galactosemia.

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