Culture of Glomerular Cells

Eishin Yaoita
Niigata University Graduate School of Medical and Dental Sciences, Niigata, Japan

Cultured cells that reproduce phenotypes in vivo are essential elements in the study of biology and pathophysiology. The most important step for glomerular cell culture was the isolation of glomeruli. In 1950, S.A. Greenspon and C.A. Krakower first isolated large numbers of glomeruli by a sieving method using a stainless-steel screen (1). In 1970, L. Quadracci and G.E. Striker applied glomeruli that had been isolated using a modified sieving method to cell-culture and reported three cell types in the culture (2). Which cells came from podocytes remains controversial. P. Mundel et al. considered cobblestone-like polygonal cells to be dedifferentiated podocytes (3) and established podocyte cell lines using conditionally immortalized mice (4), which has had a great impact on podocyte research. In parallel, it has been suggested that polygonal cells originate from the parietal epithelial cells of Bowman’s capsule as represented by J.O. Nørgaard’s paper (5). Few polygonal cells have actually been seen in outgrowths from glomeruli isolated by the innovative method invented by M. Takemoto et al., in which almost all glomeruli are decapsulated (6). In addition, phenotypes very close to podocytes in vivo have been successfully restored using the outgrowths from glomeruli isolated by Takemoto’s method (7), whereas phenotypes from polygonal cells from glomeruli isolated by the sieving method have not.


  1. Greenspon SA, Krakower CA. Direct evidence for the antigenicity of the glomeruli in the production of nephrotoxic serums. AMA Arch Pathol. 1950; 49:291-7.
  2. Quadracci L, Striker GE. Growth and maintenance of glomerular cells in vitro. Proc Soc Exp Biol Med. 1970; 135:947-50.
  3. Mundel P, Reiser J, Kriz W. Induction of differentiation in cultured rat and human podocytes. J Am Soc Nephrol. 1997; 8:697-705.
  4. Mundel P, Reiser J, Zúñiga Mejía Borja A, Pavenstädt H, Davidson GR, Kriz W, Zeller R. Rearrangements of the cytoskeleton and cell contacts induce process formation during differentiation of conditionally immortalized mouse podocyte cell lines. Exp Cell Res. 1997; 236:248-58.
  5. Nørgaard JO. Rat glomerular epithelial cells in culture. Parietal or visceral epithelial origin? Lab Invest. 1987; 57:277-90.
  6. Takemoto M, Asker N, Gerhardt H, Lundkvist A, Johansson BR, Saito Y, Betsholtz C. A new method for large scale isolation of kidney glomeruli from mice. Am J Pathol. 2002; 161:799-805.
  7. Yaoita E, Yoshida Y, Nameta M, Takimoto H, Fujinaka H. Induction of interdigitating cell processes in podocyte culture. Kidney Int. 2018; 93:519-24.

Global Operations Center

Avenue des Arts 1-2
1210 Brussels, Belgium
Tel: +32 2 808 04 20
Fax: +32 2 808 4454
Email contact


Americas Operations Center

340 North Avenue 3rd Floor
Cranford, NJ 07016-2496, United States
Tel: +1 567 248 9703
Fax: +1 908 272 7101
Email contact