To define the interplay of glomerular hypertension and hypertrophy with mesangial extracellular matrix (ECM) deposition, we examined the effects of glomerular capillary distention and mesangial cell stretching on ECM synthesis. The volume of microdissected rat glomeruli (Vg), perfused ex vivo at increasing flows, was quantified and related to the proximal intraglomerular pressure (PIP). Glomerular compliance, expressed as the slope of the positive linear relationship between PIP and Vg was 7.68 x 10(3) microns 3/mmHg. Total Vg increment (PIP 0-150 mmHg) was 1.162 x 10(6) microns 3 or 61% (n = 13). A 16% increase in Vg was obtained over the PIP range equivalent to the pathophysiological limits of mean transcapillary pressure difference. A similar effect of renal perfusion on Vg was also noted histologically in tissue from kidneys perfused/fixed in vivo. Cultured mesangial cells undergoing cyclic stretching increased their synthesis of protein, total collagen, and key components of ECM (collagen IV, collagen I, laminin, fibronectin). Synthetic rates were stimulated by cell growth and the degree of stretching. These results suggest that capillary expansion and stretching of mesangial cells by glomerular hypertension provokes increased ECM production which is accentuated by cell growth and glomerular hypertrophy. Mesangial expansion and glomerulosclerosis might result from this interplay of mechanical and metabolic forces.
B L Riser, P Cortes, X Zhao, J Bernstein, F Dumler, R G Narins