n. an epithelial cell in the glomerulus that spreads over the capillary basement membrane and has branching tentacle-like processes that interdigitate with adjacent cells. The podocytes leave gaps or thin filtration slits. The slits are covered by slit diaphragms, which are composed of a number of cell-surface proteins including nephrin, podocalyxin, and P-cadherin, which ensure that large molecules, such as albumin and gammaglobulin, are not filtered. Podocytes are damaged in minimal change nephropathy and a major target of injury in HIVAN.
Subjects: Medicine and Health.