Podocytes as target of vitamin D

Curr Diabetes Rev. 2011 Jan;7(1):35-40. doi: 10.2174/157339911794273964.


Vitamin D deficiency is a prominent feature of chronic kidney disease (CKD) even in its early stages. While vitamin D deficiency leads to mineral imbalance and bone problems in CDK patients, it also accelerates the progression of kidney disease. Ever since the observation that vitamin D analogs reduce proteinuria in CKD patients, it has been postulated that podocytes are major target of the reno-protective action of vitamin D. Recent large randomized clinical trials have confirmed the potent anti-proteinuric activity of vitamin D therapy. Studies from various animal models of kidney disease have demonstrated that vitamin D prevents podocyte injury and cell loss, promotes the expression of slit diaphragm proteins and maintains the integrity of the glomerular filtration barrier. Emerging experimental data suggest that vitamin D may protect podocytes by targeting multiple pathways, including the renin-angiotensin system, Wnt/β-catenin pathway and pro-apoptotic pathway.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Diabetic Nephropathies / etiology
  • Diabetic Nephropathies / metabolism
  • Diabetic Nephropathies / pathology
  • Diabetic Nephropathies / physiopathology
  • Humans
  • Kidney Failure, Chronic / etiology
  • Kidney Failure, Chronic / metabolism
  • Kidney Failure, Chronic / pathology
  • Kidney Failure, Chronic / physiopathology
  • Models, Biological
  • Podocytes / metabolism*
  • Podocytes / pathology
  • Podocytes / physiology
  • Vitamin D / blood
  • Vitamin D / metabolism*
  • Vitamin D / physiology*
  • Vitamin D Deficiency / complications
  • Vitamin D Deficiency / metabolism
  • Vitamin D Deficiency / physiopathology


  • Vitamin D