Antibodies specific for the alpha 1 (V) chain and native collagen molecules containing the alpha 1 (V) chain have been used in electron immunohistochemical studies of rat kidney to determine the ultrastructural distribution of this class of collagen molecules. In addition, antibodies against type I collagen and whole basement membrane were used as markers for interstitial collagen and authentic basement membranes. Our results indicate that type V collagen is present in the renal interstitium in different forms: in close apposition to interstitial collagen fibers; in the stromal aspect of vascular basement membranes; and as particulate material not bound to other structures. On the basis of these findings, we postulate a binding or connecting function for this collagen type.

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