Immigrating progenitor cells contribute to human podocyte turnover

Kidney Int. 2007 Dec;72(12):1468-73. doi: 10.1038/ Epub 2007 Sep 26.


Podocyte depletion is a critical event in glomerular diseases in general and in the development of focal segmental glomerulosclerosis in particular. Progenitor cell immigration is a possible mechanism of podocyte replacement for the preservation of nephron function since, with rare exception, mature podocytes are thought to be incapable of replication. We examined eight paraffin-embedded renal biopsies from six male recipients of female transplant kidneys for receiver-derived podocytes. Fluorescent in situ hybridization for the Y chromosome was combined with immunofluorescence for the podocyte marker, Wilms tumor-1 antigen. Recipient-derived podocytes were found in 4 of 8 biopsies representing 3 of the 6 patients. Overall, 5 of the 740 podocytes examined in the female-donated kidneys were male derived. Our study suggests that immigrating progenitor cells are able to replace podocytes in humans; however, the importance of this process in physiologic and pathologic conditions is unknown.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Biopsy
  • Cell Count
  • Cell Movement / physiology*
  • Chromosomes, Human, Y
  • Female
  • Humans
  • In Situ Hybridization, Fluorescence
  • Kidney Transplantation
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Podocytes / cytology*
  • Podocytes / physiology*
  • Stem Cells / cytology*
  • Stem Cells / physiology*