[Inherited podocytopathies]

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Srpski Arhiv za Celokupno Lekarstvo 2008, 136: 327-39
Podocytes, the visceral glomerular epithelial cells, are the postmythotic cells that line the outer aspects of the glomerular basement membrane. A number of advances have been made in recent years, linked to the discovery of single-gene defects in hereditary glomerular disease, which highlight the role of these cells in preventing proteinuria. Despite the rarity of hereditary proteinuric syndromes, genetic, biochemical, and structural studies of these diseases have made important contributions to our knowledge of how the normal glomerular filter works and the mechanism of proteinuria. The course of these diseases can vary; some patients present with severe proteinuria and congenital nephrotic syndrome, whereas others have only moderate proteinuria and focal segmental glomerulosclerosis. Regardless of its cause, the disease often progresses to end-stage renal disease. There can be overlap between the diseases: mutations in the same gene can lead to different renal phenotypes. It is important to know that some hereditary podocytopathies respond to therapy, whereas majority does not. For this reason, genetic testing, which is available for some hereditary podocytopathies should be performed whenever possible. This review summarizes recent progress in the eludication of genetic causes of disease and discusses their implication for the understanding of the pathogenic mechanisms which can lead to disruption of the glomerular filtration barrier.

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