Abnormalities in the incorporation of heparan sulfate proteoglycan into the glomerular basement membrane have been implicated in the pathogenesis of various proteinuric states, including diabetes mellitus. To understand further the interactions between proteoglycans and glomerular extracellular matrices, glomeruli were isolated from normal and streptozocin-induced diabetic rats after in vivo exposure to 35S-labeled sulfate and were treated with heparin in vitro. Heparin treatment released a unique heparan sulfate proteoglycan from glomerular cell surface or extracellular matrix proteoglycan receptors. Another, smaller heparan sulfate proteoglycan was the most abundant proteoglycan released into medium and was released constitutively in medium with or without added heparin. While the two heparin-extracted proteoglycans copurified on anion-exchange and gelfiltration chromatographic columns, they were resolved by composite 0.6% agarose–1.8% polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis. Glomeruli from diabetic rats contained decreased proportions of the heparin-releasable heparan sulfate proteoglycan and more constitutively released heparan sulfate proteoglycan. The apparent molecular weight and intrinsic charge of the heparin-released proteoglycan mixture and the apparent molecular weight and sulfation pattern of their 35S-labeled glycosaminoglycan chains after nitrous acid deaminative cleavage were similar in the two groups. A brief trypsin digestion of heparin-treated glomeruli released proportionately less integral membrane and extracellular matrix 35S-labeled proteoglycans and 35S-labeled glycopeptides from diabetic glomeruli than from control glomeruli. Elution of these 35S-labeled macromolecules from anion-exchange columns and migration in agarose-polyacrylamide gels were similar in the two groups. Abnormalities in proteoglycan-matrix interactions or proteoglycan processing may account for changes in the proportions of heparin- and trypsin-extracted proteoglycan compartments in diabetes

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