Molecular transport through the basement membrane is important for a number of physiological functions, and dysregulation of basement membrane architecture can have serious pathological consequences. The structure-function relationships that govern molecular transport in basement membranes are not fully understood. The basement membrane from the lens capsule of the eye is a collagen IV-rich matrix that can easily be extracted and manipulated in vitro. As such, it provides a convenient model for studying the functional relationships that govern molecular transport in basement membranes. Here we investigate the effects of increased transmembrane pressure and solute electrical charge on the transport properties of the lens basement membrane (LBM) from the bovine eye. Pressure-permeability relationships in LBM transport were governed primarily by changes in diffusive and convective contributions to solute flux and not by pressure-dependent changes in intrinsic membrane properties. The solute electrical charge had a minimal but statistically significant effect on solute transport through the LBM that was opposite of the expected electrokinetic behavior. The observed transport characteristics of the LBM are discussed in the context of established membrane transport modeling and previous work on the effects of pressure and electrical charge in other basement membrane systems.
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