Podocytes-The Most Vulnerable Renal Cells in Preeclampsia

Ewa Kwiatkowska, Katarzyna Stefańska, Maciej Zieliński, Justyna Sakowska, Martyna Jankowiak, Piotr Trzonkowski, Natalia Marek-Trzonkowska, Sebastian Kwiatkowski
International Journal of Molecular Sciences 2020 July 17, 21 (14)
Preeclampsia (PE) is a disorder that affects 3-5% of normal pregnancies. It was believed for a long time that the kidney, similarly to all vessels in the whole system, only sustained endothelial damage. The current knowledge gives rise to a presumption that the main role in the development of proteinuria is played by damage to the podocytes and their slit diaphragm. The podocyte damage mechanism in preeclampsia is connected to free VEGF and nitric oxide (NO) deficiency, and an increased concentration of endothelin-1 and oxidative stress. From national cohort studies, we know that women who had preeclampsia in at least one pregnancy carried five times the risk of developing end-stage renal disease (ESRD) when compared to women with physiological pregnancies. The focal segmental glomerulosclerosis (FSGS) is the dominant histopathological lesion in women with a history of PE. The kidney's podocytes are not subject to replacement or proliferation. Podocyte depletion exceeding 20% resulted in FSGS, which is a reason for the later development of ESRD. In this review, we present the mechanism of kidney (especially podocytes) injury in preeclampsia. We try to explain how this damage affects further changes in the morphology and function of the kidneys after pregnancy.

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