News FocusCell Biology

First Components Found for Key Kidney Filter

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Science  08 Oct 1999:
Vol. 286, Issue 5438, pp. 225-226
DOI: 10.1126/science.286.5438.225

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Researchers have for the first time identified protein components of the filter, known as the "slit diaphragm," that prevents proteins from leaking into the urine from the capillaries of the glomeruli, the tiny globes of kidney tissue where the urine is formed. Kidney specialists are hailing the discoveries, one of which is described on page 312, because they may help them understand both normal kidney function and also provide therapeutic targets for a class of kidney diseases-those characterized by loss of protein into the urine--that account for about half of the 280,000 cases of kidney disease in the United States alone.