Podocytes (glomerular epithelial cells) lie on the urinary aspect of the glomerular capillary and play a key role in the selective filter that underlies kidney function. They are injured in various forms of renal disease: the extents of this injury and its reversibility have major implications for treatment and prognosis. Until recently, podocytes were difficult to study in vitro because of a previous lack of techniques for obtaining differentiated cells in quantities adequate for research. In recent years, this problem has been solved for rodent and human podocytes and there has been an explosion of research using cultured cells. These authors have led the development and characterization of human podocyte cell lines and in this article describe the methods that have allowed them to do this.
© 2012 The Authors. Nephrology © 2012 Asian Pacific Society of Nephrology.