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Am J Pathol. 1992 May;140(5):1225-35.

Immunochemical analysis of human kidney reticulin.

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  • 1Department of Dermatology, Mount Sinai School of Medicine, New York, New York 10029.


This study characterized the nature of reticulin fibrils from human kidney cortex by immunochemical analysis. Controls consisted of type I collagen fibrils derived from the kidney parietal capsule. Most of the fibrils in the capsule ranged in diameter from 60 to 80 nm whereas reticulin fibrils from the cortex ranged from 30-45 nm. Immunochemistry by light and electron microscopic examinations was carried out with antibodies directed against type I and type III collagens, their corresponding aminopropeptides, and decorin (PG-II). The ratio of type I to type III collagen was determined by cyanogen bromide peptide digests. This study showed that reticulin fibrils are hybrids of type I and type III collagens. Double immunoelectron microscopic examination showed that fibrils 20-25 nm consisted mainly of type I collagen some of which retained their aminopropeptide. Larger fibrils 30-35 nm labeled simultaneously for type I and type III collagens. However, most fibrils with diameters between 40-55 nm labeled for type III collagen and its corresponding aminopropeptide. No decorin was detected at the surface of reticulin fibrils. Purified reticulin consisted of 82% type III and 18% type I collagen whereas collagen derived from the capsule revealed 76% type I and 24% type III. The presence of the aminopropeptide of type III procollagen in reticulin fibrils is a striking feature and may play a role in regulating their diameter.

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