The glomerular podocyte is a terminally differentiated and highly specialized kidney epithelial cell. In addition to providing structural support to the glomerulus, its main function is to limit the passage of protein from the intravascular space to the urinary space. Thus, the clinical signature of injury to podocytes is proteinuria. Injury occur in diabetes, membranous nephropathy, focal segmental glomerulosclerosis and minimal change disease. This R13 applicant application is written to support the the 9th International Podocyte Conference, the major goal of which is to substantially advance the clinical and research aspects of podocyte diseases.
Injury to kidney podocytes is the leading cause of proteinuria, which is an independent risk factor for cardiovascular disease. Improving our understanding of injury and repair will reduce the overall burden of disease.