Jun 1, 1988

Morphological alterations of the glomerular (visceral) epithelium in response to pathological and experimental situations

Journal of Electron Microscopy Technique
P M Andrews


The glomerular (visceral) layer of Bowman's capsule is comprised of a unique population of cells which have been termed "podocytes." Arising from these cells are large major processes and numerous smaller foot processes which completely surround underlying glomerular capillary loops. Podocyte foot processes interdigitate with each other and are separated by spaces (filtration slits) which are designed to facilitate flow of a large amount of filtrate across the glomerular wall. Podocytes exhibit dramatic morphological changes in response to the nephrotic syndrome and some forms of acute renal failure and may play an important role in the pathophysiology of these conditions. In vitro and in vivo studies have shown that a reduction in the sialic acid component of a thick anionic surface coat plays a major role in the morphological changes that these cells exhibit in the nephrotic syndrome. Also, it has been shown that filamentous actin concentrated mainly within podocyte foot processes are the contractile elements responsible for altering the shapes of these processes. There is evidence to suggest that by altering the shapes of their foot processes, podocytes in the normal kidney are able to alter the number of fully patent filtra...Continue Reading

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Mentioned in this Paper

Nephrotic Syndrome
Kidney Failure, Acute
Renal Glomerular Disease
Surface Properties
Sialic Acid Assay

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