Researchers from RWTH Aachen University in Germany have made a surprising discovery about parietal epithelial cells, kidney progenitor cells that continue to multiply throughout the life cycle. The scientists set out to prove that these cells could help generate new podocytes, which make up the kidney’s filtration barrier and are damaged in many types of kidney disease. They discovered that once kidney damage has occurred and podocytes have been lost, parietal epithelial cells actually cause kidney scarring and further deterioration. Stopping the parietal cells from causing damage could lead to a promising treatment for kidney failure.
During their research, the scientists also uncovered a previously unknown store of podocytes, opening up another important area for study.
Targeting Certain Kidney Cells May Help Treat Kidney Failure, EurekAlert, January 9, 2014