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Virchows Arch. 1997 Dec;431(6):425-30.

Distribution of podocyte protein (44 KD) in different types of glomerular diseases.

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Institute for Pathology, Kantonsspital Basel, Universitätskliniken, Basel, Switzerland.


The podocyte protein, 44 KD (pp44), is a podocyte-specific antigen that is selectively distributed in the cytoplasm of foot processes. It has been suggested that the pp44 antigen is associated with the cytoskeleton and helps to maintain the complex architecture of podocytes. To answer the question as to whether changes in pp44 expression are associated with changes in podocyte morphology, we investigated the distribution of the pp44 antigen in different kidney diseases. Twenty-one kidney biopsies and one nephrectomy specimen were studied by indirect immunofluorescent technique and electron microscopy. The pp44-antigen is preserved in cases associated with foot process fusion. In contrast, the antigen could not be detected in areas of capillary wall necrosis, cellular crescents or early and advanced stages of focal segmental glomerulosclerosis--even in the presence of podocytes. Our results show that the pp44 antigen is preserved in diseases associated with reversible loss of foot processes (in cases with foot process fusion associated with proteinuria). In contrast, the pp44 antigen is not detectable in the area of FSGS and cellular crescents, suggesting that in these conditions, podocytes undergo irreversible injury even if they are still present on conventional light microscopy.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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