Podocyte endocytosis in the regulation of the glomerular filtration barrier

Am J Physiol Renal Physiol. 2015 Sep 1;309(5):F398-405. doi: 10.1152/ajprenal.00136.2015. Epub 2015 Jun 17.


Severe defects in the glomerular filtration barrier result in nephrotic syndrome, which is characterized by massive proteinuria. The podocyte, a specialized epithelial cell with interdigitating foot processes separated by a slit diaphragm, plays a vital role in regulating the passage of proteins from the capillary lumen to Bowman's space. Recent findings suggest a critical role for endocytosis in podocyte biology as highlighted by genetic mouse models of disease and human genetic mutations that result in the loss of the integrity of the glomerular filtration barrier. In vitro podocyte studies have also unraveled a plethora of constituents that are differentially internalized to maintain homeostasis. These observations provide a framework and impetus for understanding the precise regulation of podocyte endocytic machinery in both health and disease.

Keywords: endocytosis; glomerular disease; phosphoinositides; podocyte.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Endocytosis / physiology*
  • Glomerular Filtration Barrier / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Mice
  • Nephrotic Syndrome / metabolism
  • Podocytes / metabolism*
  • Proteinuria / metabolism