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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Glomerular anionic site distribution in nonproteinuric rats. A computer-assisted morphometric analysis.

The cationic ultrastructural tracer polyethyleneimine (PEI: pI approximately equal to 11.0), binds electrophysically to uniformly spaced discrete electron-dense anionic sites present in the laminae rarae of the rat glomerular basement membrane (GBM), mesangial reflections of the GBM, Bowman's capsule, and tubular basement membranes when administered intravenously. Computer-assisted morphometric analysis of glomerular anionic sites reveals that the maximum concentration of stainable lamina rara externa (lre) sites (21/10,000 A GBM) occurs 60 minutes after PEI injection with a site-site interspacing of 460 A. Lamina rara interna (lri) sites similarly demonstrate a maximum concentration (20/10,000 A GBM) at 60 minutes with a periodicity of 497 A. The concentration and distribution of anionic sites within the lri was irregular in pattern and markedly decreased in number, while the lre possesses an electrical field that is highly regular at all time intervals analyzed (15, 30, 60, 120, 180, 240, and 300 minutes). Immersion and perfusion of renal tissue with PEI reveals additional heavy staining of the epithelial and endothelial cell sialoprotein coatings. PEI appears to bind to glomerular anionic sites reversibly: ie, between 60 and 180 minutes the concentration of stained sites decreases. At 300 minutes, the interspacing once again approaches the 60-minute concentration. This suggests a dynamic turnover or dissociation followed by a reassociation of glomerular negatively charged PEI binding sites. In contrast, morphometric analysis of anionic sites stained with lysozyme and protamine sulfate reveals interspacings of 642 A and 585 A, respectively; in addition, these tracers produce major glomerular ultrastructural alterations and induce transient proteinuria. PEI does not induce proteinuria in rats, nor does it produce glomerular morphologic alterations when ten times the tracer dosage is administered intravenously. These findings indicate that the choice of ultrastructural charge tracer, the method of administering the tracer, and the time selected for analysis of tissue after administration of tracer significantly influences results. Morphometric analysis of the distribution of glomerular anionic sites in nonproteinuric rats provides a method of evaluating quantitative alterations of the glomerular charge barrier in renal disease models.[1]


  1. Glomerular anionic site distribution in nonproteinuric rats. A computer-assisted morphometric analysis. Pilia, P.A., Swain, R.P., Williams, A.V., Loadholt, C.B., Ainsworth, S.K. Am. J. Pathol. (1985) [Pubmed]
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