Purpose of review
is a key cell in the selective filtering action of the glomerular capillary wall. Podocyte
injury is of pathogenetic and prognostic significance in human glomerular disease; podocyte
repair and regeneration are important therapeutic targets. This article will review recent advances in understanding the complex biology, structure and function of the podocyte
and the related clinical implications.
Recent studies of podocytes in vivo
and in vitro
are described, highlighting clinically relevant observations and those that help us to understand the ways in which we may harness nature's own mechanisms to repair and/or renew these specialized glomerular cells.
Drugs that have beneficial effects on podocytes can improve our ability to treat important renal diseases, including diabetic nephropathy. Currently available agents can be harnessed in this way and the rapid progress in the study of podocytes is highlighting new therapeutic targets that can bring even more specificity.