In the renal glomerulus, the narrow slits between adjacent epithelial podocytes are bridged by a diaphragm (2, 8, 11). In rat and mouse kidneys fixed by perfusion with tannic acid and glutaraldehyde (TAG), it has recently been discovered that this diaphragm has a highly ordered, isoporous substructure (9). It consists of a regular array of alternating cross bridges extending from the podocyte plasma membranes to a centrally running filament. This zipperlike pattern results in two rows of rectangular pores, approximately 40 X 140 A in cross section, dimensions consistent with the proposed role of the diaphragm as an important filtration barrier to plasma proteins (6). In the present study, we found in freeze-cleaved and in freeze-etched normal rat glomeruli that the surface of the slit diaphragm has an appearance conforming to the pattern found in sectioned material.

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