A quantitative morphologic study of the glomeruli in rats after 4 wk of streptozotocin-induced diabetes showed a number of glomerular changes, as previously described. Of particular interest was the increase in the total amount of glomerular basement membrane material [from 0.94 ± 0.13 (SD) mm3 to 1.26 ± 0.14 mm3 per kidney]. This parameter did not change after 4 wk of normoglycemia following islet cell transplantation (1.19 ± 0.17 mm3), nor was the total glomerular volume normalized. The contralateral kidney was weighed and used for estimating the total amounts of protein, RNA, and DNA. Four weeks of diabetes expectedly resulted in a 50% increase in kidney weight, and islet cell transplantation diminished this to 15% in excess of normal.

The average cell size (protein/DNA ratio) paralleled the kidney size after diabetes and following transplantation. The average amount of RNA per cell (RNA/DNA) increased significantly after induction of diabetes and was totally normalized after transplantation. Kidney protein concentration (mg protein/mg kidney) remained constant throughout the experiment. Considering that a few weeks of diabetes provokes a large increase in basement membrane material, it is especially noteworthy that 1 mo of normoglycemia is quite insufficient to reverse the accumulation.

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