Journal of the American Society of Nephrology : JASN

Parietal podocytes in normal human glomeruli.

PMID 16943305


Although parietal podocytes along the Bowman's capsule have been described by electron microscopy in the normal human kidney, their molecular composition remains unknown. Ten human normal kidneys that were removed for cancer were assessed for the presence and the extent of parietal podocytes along the Bowman's capsule. The expression of podocyte-specific proteins (podocalyxin, glomerular epithelial protein-1, podocin, nephrin, synaptopodin, and alpha-actinin-4), podocyte synthesized proteins (vascular endothelial growth factor and novH), transcription factors (WT1 and PAX2), cyclin-dependent kinase inhibitor p57, and intermediate filaments (cytokeratins and vimentin) was tested. In addition, six normal fetal kidneys were studied to track the ontogeny of parietal podocytes. The podocyte protein labeling detected parietal podocytes in all of the kidneys, was found in 76.6% on average of Bowman's capsule sections, and was prominent at the vascular pole. WT1 and p57 were expressed in some parietal cells, whereas PAX2 was present in all or most of them, so some parietal cells coexpressed WT1 and PAX2. Furthermore, parietal podocytes coexpressed WT1 and podocyte proteins. Cytokeratin-positive cells covered a variable part of the capsule and did not express podocyte proteins. Tuft-capsular podocyte bridges were present in 15.5 +/- 3.7% of the glomerular sections. Parietal podocytes often covered the juxtaglomerular arterioles and were present within the extraglomerular mesangium. Parietal podocytes were present in fetal kidneys. Parietal podocytes that express the same epitopes as visceral podocytes do exist along Bowman's capsule in the normal adult kidney. They are a constitutive cell type of the Bowman's capsule. Therefore, their role in physiology and pathology should be investigated.