Basement membranes in the kidney are made up of a homogeneous matrix. In argyria, silver passes from the blood in the ionic form and diffuses into the kidney basement membranes in which it is precipitated. X-ray diffraction studies of "silver-stained" rat kidneys show that most of the silver in the kidneys is combined with some form of sulfur. Histochemical staining for sulfhydryls and disulfides demonstrates the presence of these groups in basement membranes. It appears that silver ions combine with either or both the sulfhydryl or disulfide groups in the basement membranes and also in mitochondria (when the silver diffuses into a cell).