Clusterin is a heterodimeric glycoprotein produced by a wide array of tissues and found in most biologic fluids. A number of physiologic functions have been proposed for clusterin based on its distribution and in vitro properties. These include complement regulation, lipid transport, sperm maturation, initiation of apoptosis, endocrine secretion, membrane protection, and promotion of cell interactions. A prominent and defining feature of clusterin is its induction in such disease states as glomerulonephritis, polycystic kidney disease, renal tubular injury, neurodegenerative conditions including Alzheimer's disease, atherosclerosis, and myocardial infarction. The expression of clusterin in these states is puzzling, from the specific molecular species and cellular pathways eliciting such expression, to the roles subserved by clusterin once induced. This review will discuss these physiologic and pathophysiologic aspects of clusterin and speculate on its role in disease.