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Int J Nephrol. 2012;2012:546039. doi: 10.1155/2012/546039. Epub 2012 Jul 4.

Understanding the mechanisms of proteinuria: therapeutic implications.

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  • 1Laboratorio de Medicina Experimental, Hospital Alemán, Facultad de Medicina, University of Buenos Aires, Avenida Pueyrredon 1640, 1118 Buenos Aires, Argentina.


A large body of evidence indicates that proteinuria is a strong predictor of morbidity, a cause of inflammation, oxidative stress and progression of chronic kidney disease, and development of cardiovascular disease. The processes that lead to proteinuria are complex and involve factors such as glomerular hemodynamic, tubular absorption, and diffusion gradients. Alterations in various different molecular pathways and interactions may lead to the identical clinical end points of proteinuria and chronic kidney disease. Glomerular diseases include a wide range of immune and nonimmune insults that may target and thus damage some components of the glomerular filtration barrier. In many of these conditions, the renal visceral epithelial cell (podocyte) responds to injury along defined pathways, which may explain the resultant clinical and histological changes. The recent discovery of the molecular components of the slit diaphragm, specialized structure of podocyte-podocyte interaction, has been a major breakthrough in understanding the crucial role of the epithelial layer of the glomerular barrier and the pathogenesis of proteinuria. This paper provides an overview and update on the structure and function of the glomerular filtration barrier and the pathogenesis of proteinuria, highlighting the role of the podocyte in this setting. In addition, current antiproteinuric therapeutic approaches are briefly commented.

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