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Podocin and Beta Dystroglycan expression to study Podocyte-Podocyte and basement membrane matrix connections in adult protienuric states

Praveen B Shankar1, Ritambhra Nada1*, Kusum Joshi1, Ashwani Kumar1, Charan Singh Rayat1 and Vinay Sakhuja2

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Histopathology, Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research, Chandigarh 160012, India

2 Department of Nephrology, Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research, Chandigarh 160012, India

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Diagnostic Pathology 2014, 9:40  doi:10.1186/1746-1596-9-40

Published: 21 February 2014



Podocytes can be the primary site of injury or secondarily involved in various protienuric states. Cross talk between adjacent foot processes and with basement membrane is important for slit diaphragm function. Does expression of podocyte associated proteins in kidney biopsies alter with site/type of primary injury? Genetic mutations of podocin result in steroid resistant FSGS. Can protein expression of podocin predict resistant cases to initiate further genetic evaluation?


Adult patients (n-88) with protienuria- minimal change disease(MCD)-22, focal segmental glomerulosclerosis(FSGS)-21,membranous glomerulonephritis(MGN)-25 and IgA nephropathy(IgAN)-20 were selected for immunohistochemistry with podocin and beta dystroglycan . Results were graded (0 - 3+scale )and compared with control biopsies and internal control. Treatment and follow up (6 months -2 ½ years) of FSGS and MCD cases were collected.


There was intense to moderate staining of the podocytes with podocin and β dystroglycan in the glomeruli in all cases (MCD, FSGS, IgAN and MGN) except for weak staining with β dystroglycan in 3 cases of MCD. There was loss of immunostains in areas of segmental/global sclerosis. There was no significant difference in the staining pattern between the groups. In primary podocytopathies, staining pattern did not differ between steroid resistant, sensitive or dependent cases.


Immunohistochemical expression of podocin and β dystroglycan does not differ in nephropathies which have different site of injury depending on absence (MCD and FSGS) or presence of immune deposits and their localization (MGN and IgAN). Podocin and β dystroglycan staining did not differentiate steroid sensitive and resistant cases, hence, does not give clue to initiate genetic studies. However, analysis of bigger cohort may be required.


Podocin and β dystroglycan immunohistochemistry was done to analyze podocyte - podocyte and podocyte -basement membrane matrix connections in adult protienuric states. Primary podocytopathies i.e. MCD and FSGS and secondary podocytopathy due to immune complex deposition i.e. MGN (subepithelial) and IgAN (mesangial) were analyzed. There was no difference in staining patterns between primary and secondary podocytopathies or between steroid sensitive, resistant and dependent cases of FSGS and MCD.

Virtual slides

The virtual slide(s) for this article can be found here: webcite

Beta dystroglycan; Focal segmental glomerulosclerosis; IgA nephropathy; Membranous glomerulonephritis; Minimal change disease; Podocin