Glomerulus. (Diagram in French, but "Membrane basale glomerulaire et ses podocytes" labeled near center.) Latin podocytus Dorlands/Elsevier Podocyte

Podocytes (or visceral epithelial cells) are cells in the Bowman's capsule in the kidneys that wrap around the capillaries of the glomerulus. The Bowman's capsule filters blood, holding back large molecules such as proteins, and passing through small molecules such as water, salts, and sugar, as the first step in forming urine.

The long processes, or "foot projections," of the podocytes wrap around the capillaries, and leave slits between them. Blood is filtered through these slits, each known as a slit diaphragm or filtration slit. Several proteins are required for the foot projections to wrap around the capillaries and function. When infants are born with certain defects in these proteins, such as nephrin and CD2AP, their kidneys cannot function. People have variations in these proteins, and some variations may predispose them to kidney failure later in life. Nephrin is a zipper-like protein that forms the slit diaphragm, with spaces between the teeth of the zipper, big enough to allow sugar and water through, but too small to allow proteins through. Nephron defects are responsible for congenital kidney failure. CD2AP regulates the podocyte cytoskeleton and stabilizes the slit diaphragm.

Read more about Podocyte:  Function, Structure Features, Pathology

Other articles related to "podocyte, podocytes":

Podocyte - Pathology
... of the slit diaphragms or destruction of the podocytes can lead to massive proteinuria where large amounts of protein are lost from the blood ...
Focal Segmental Glomerulosclerosis - Causes
... This protein crosslinks bundles of actin filaments and is present in the podocyte ... Firstly, protein aggregation may have a toxic effect on the podocyte ... or increased affinity for actin binding may alter actin polymerization and thereby affect the podocytes cytoskeletal architecture ...