Podocalyxin is the major sialoprotein in the glycocalyx of glomerular podocytes. Here we report on its extraglomerular localization, using a monospecific antibody which was obtained by affinity purification of IgG on nitrocellulose transfers of glomerular podocalyxin. By indirect immunofluorescence, podocalyxin was found in the blood vessels of several organs (lung, heart, kidney, small intestine, brain, pancreas, aorta, the periportal blood vessels in liver, and the central arteries of follicles of the spleen, but not in the endothelia that line the sinusoids of the latter organs). By immunoelectron microscopy--using immunogold conjugates in diffusion ("pre-embedding") and surface ("postembedding") procedures--podocalyxin was localized on the luminal membrane domain of endothelial cells, in a patchy distribution. The presence of podocalyxin was confirmed in SDS extracts of lung tissue by immunoblotting. We conclude that (a) podocalyxin is a widespread component of endothelial plasma membranes, (b) it is restricted to the luminal membrane domain, and (c) it is distributed unevenly on the endothelial cell surface.

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