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Ren Fail. 2012;34(3):403-7. doi: 10.3109/0886022X.2011.649627. Epub 2012 Jan 17.

Relationship between urinary podocytes and kidney diseases.

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Department of Nephrology, Affiliated Hospital of Xuzhou Medical College, Xuzhou, Jiangsu, PR China.


Podocyte loss is an important component of disease progression in glomerular diseases. To some extent, the loss of podocytes can predict the degree of damage and the advancement of renal disease. Detecting the loss of podocytes in the urine could be a valuable, noninvasive method for obtaining information about the activity of the disease or the disease type, allowing the early diagnosis of glomerular diseases. One of the most robust markers that has been successfully used for urinary podocyte diagnostics is podocalyxin (PDX). PDX is a sialoprotein that is expressed on podocytes and on a variety of nonrenal cells as well as on glomerular endothelial and parietal epithelial cells. Therefore, podocyte loss can be detected by the amount of PDX in the urine. The relationship between urinary podocytes and renal diseases is supported by the detection of podocytes in patients with immunoglobulin A (IgA) nephropathy, Henoch-Schönlein purpura nephritis, lupus nephritis, diabetic nephropathy, and focal segmental glomerulosclerosis. The use of technology for detecting podocytes in the urine would have broad implications for the evaluation of disease activity, the degree of dedifferentiation, and the possibility of regeneration.

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