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Am J Physiol. 1997 Jul;273(1 Pt 2):F150-7.

Podocyte alpha-actinin induction precedes foot process effacement in experimental nephrotic syndrome.

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  • 1Department of Pediatrics, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor 48109, USA.


Attachment of podocytes to the glomerular basement membrane is thought to be mediated primarily by alpha 3/beta 1-integrins and by cytoskeletal proteins including actin, talin, vinculin, and alpha-actinin. We analyzed the expression of those molecules in rat glomeruli at several time points during induction of podocyte foot process effacement and nephrotic syndrome with puromycin aminonucleoside (PAN). PAN injection resulted in marked induction of glomerular alpha-actinin (40% increase vs. paired controls, P < 0.01), which clearly preceded development of podocyte foot process effacement and proteinuria and localized almost exclusively to podocytes. Delayed induction of glomerular alpha 3-integrin (44% increase vs. paired controls, P < 0.01) following foot process effacement was also observed but was not restricted to podocytes. No significant changes in glomerular vinculin, talin, beta 1-integrin, or total actin expression occurred at any time point during disease development. We conclude that foot process effacement is preceded by induction of alpha-actinin in podocytes in experimental nephrotic syndrome. Altered expression of this actin cross-linking protein in podocytes may have a pathogenic role in foot process effacement in nephrotic syndrome.

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