Expression of nestin in the podocytes of normal and diseased human kidneys.

American journal of physiology. Regulatory, integrative and comparative physiology

PubMedID: 17255215

Su W, Chen J, Yang H, You L, Xu L, Wang X, Li R, Gao L, Gu Y, Lin S, Xu H, Breyer MD, Hao CM. Expression of nestin in the podocytes of normal and diseased human kidneys. Am J Physiol Regul Integr Comp Physiol. 2007;292(5):R1761-7.
The complex cyto-architecture of the podocyte is critical for glomerular permselectivity. The present study characterizes the expression of nestin, an intermediate filament protein, in human kidneys. In normal kidneys, nestin was detected at the periphery of glomerular capillary loops. Colabeling showed nestin was expressed in WT1-positive cells. Within the podocyte, nestin immunoreactivity was present in the cell body and primary process. This was supported by immunoelectron microscopy. Nestin also colocalized with vimentin in the periphery of capillary loops but not in the mesangium. Nestin was not detected in other structures of the adult human kidney. To determine the potential role of nestin in proteinuria, nestin was examined in kidney biopsies from patients with or without proteinuria. These patients were diagnosed with IgA nephropathy with mild mesangial expansion but without proteinuria, IgA nephropathy with proteinuria, membranous nephropathy (MN), and focal segmental glomerular sclerosis (FSGS). The distribution of nestin in these biopsies was similar to that in the normal kidney. Semiquantitative analysis of immunostaining showed that glomerular nestin expression in IgA nephropathy without proteinuria was not different from normal kidney; however, nestin expression in kidneys of patients with IgA nephropathy and proteinuria, or MN and FSGS with proteinuria was significantly reduced compared with normal kidney (P < 0.01). Reduced nestin mRNA expression in the patients with IgA nephropathy with proteinuria and FSGN was also observed by quantitative real-time PCR. These studies suggest that nestin may play an important role in maintaining normal podocyte function in the human kidney.