The central role of podocytes in glomerular diseases makes this cell type an interesting diagnostic tool as well as a therapeutic target. In this review, we discuss the current literature on the use of podocytes and podocyte-specific markers as non-invasive diagnostic tools in different glomerulopathies. Furthermore, we highlight the direct effects of drugs currently used to treat primary glomerular diseases and describe their direct cellular effects on podocytes. A new therapeutic potential is seen in drugs targeting the podocytic actin cytoskeleton which is essential for podocyte foot process structure and function. Incubation of cultured human podocyte cell lines with sera from patients with active glomerular diseases is currently also used to identify novel circulating factors with pathophysiological relevance for the glomerular filtration barrier. In addition, treatment of detached urinary podocytes from patients with substances that restore their cytoskeleton might serve as a novel personalized tool to estimate their potential for podocyte recovery ex vivo.
Pflügers Archiv European Journal of Physiologyl of Physiology – Springer Journals
Published: May 16, 2017
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