Podocytes, the postmitotic and highly branched epithelial cells of the glomerulus, play a pivotal role for the function of the glomerular filtration barrier and the development of chronic kidney disease. It has long been discussed whether podocytes in vivo are motile and can laterally migrate in a coordinated way along the capillaries until they reach the position of naked glomerular basement membrane often found in podocytopathies. Such motility would also be the prerequisite for the replacement of lost podocytes by progenitor cells. Additionally, the change of the podocyte foot processes from a normal to an effaced morphology, like it is found in many kidney diseases, would require a dynamic behavior of podocytes. Since the actin cytoskeleton is expressed in podocytes in vitro and in vivo and the morphology of podocytes is highly dependent on actin, actin-associated, and actin-regulating proteins, it was assumed that podocytes are dynamic and motile. After earlier technical limitations had been overcome and novel microscopic techniques like multiphoton microscopy had been developed, it became possible to continuously study the behavior of podocytes in living rodents and zebrafish larvae under physiological and pathological conditions. Recent in vivo microscopic studies in different model organisms suggest that lateral migration of podocytes in situ is a very unlikely event and only dynamic apical cell protrusions can be observed under pathological conditions. This review discusses recent findings concerning different forms of motility (like lateral translocative (LTM), apical translocative (ATM), and stationary motility (SM)) and their role for podocytopathies.
Pflügers Archiv European Journal of Physiologyl of Physiology – Springer Journals
Published: Jun 24, 2017
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