The plasma filtration and formation of the urine is a very complex process necessary for the elimination of metabolites, toxins, and excessive water and electrolytes from the body. The initial process of urine formations is done by the glomerular filtration barrier inside the glomeruli. This specialized barrier consists of three layers, fenestrated endothelium, basement membrane, and podocytes, which ensure that water and small molecules pass through while cells and large molecules are retained. The glomerular filtration barrier is found with abnormal morphology in several diseases and is associated with renal malfunction; thus, it is interesting to study these structures in different experimental and clinical conditions. The normal glomerular barrier and its alterations in some conditions (hypertension, diabetes, and fetal programming) are discussed in this chapter. Furthermore, some methods for studying the glomerular filtration barrier by electron microscopy, both by qualitative and quantitative methods, are present.
Part of the book: Modern Electron Microscopy in Physical and Life Sciences