Claudins and the kidney

Annu Rev Physiol. 2013:75:479-501. doi: 10.1146/annurev-physiol-030212-183705. Epub 2012 Nov 5.


Claudins are tight junction membrane proteins that regulate paracellular permeability of renal epithelia to small ions, solutes, and water. Claudins interact within the cell membrane and between neighboring cells to form tight junction strands and constitute both the paracellular barrier and the pore. The first extracellular domain of claudins is thought to be the pore-lining domain and contains the determinants of charge selectivity. Multiple claudins are expressed in different nephron segments; such differential expression likely determines the permeability properties of each segment. Recent evidence has identified claudin-2 as constituting the cation-reabsorptive pathway in the proximal tubule; claudin-14, -16, and -19 as forming a complex that regulates calcium transport in the thick ascending limb of the loop of Henle; and claudin-4, -7, and -8 as determinants of collecting duct chloride permeability. Mutations in claudin-16 and -19 cause familial hypercalciuric hypomagnesemia with nephrocalcinosis. The roles of other claudins in kidney diseases remain to be fully elucidated.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Biological Transport / physiology
  • Calcium / metabolism
  • Cell Membrane Permeability / physiology
  • Claudins / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Kidney / cytology
  • Kidney / physiology*
  • Kidney Diseases / pathology
  • Kidney Diseases / physiopathology
  • Tight Junctions / physiology*


  • Claudins
  • Calcium