Glomerular subepithelial microparticles - a footprint for podocyte injury

Yon Hee Kim, Kyu Ha Huh, Beom Jin Lim, Beom Seok Kim, Yu Seun Kim, Soon Il Kim, Myoung Soo Kim, Juhan Lee, Jung Tak Park, Tae Hyun Yoo, Shin Wook Kang, Seung Hyeok Han, Hyeon Joo Jeong

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


The aim of this study was to clarify the nature and clinical significance of glomerular subepithelial microparticles (SMPs), located between the basal surface of the podocytes and the glomerular basement membrane. Ultrastructural morphology of 79 renal biopsy samples (obtained from 25 native and 54 transplanted kidneys), showing SMPs in the last 3 years, was reevaluated with regard to the podocyte changes and clinical condition of the patients. One hundred and nine SMPs were identified, with 32.9% of the samples having two or more per glomerulus. Overall, they were most frequently located in the open capillary loops (55%). However, in the native kidney samples with mesangial deposits, 64.3% of SMPs were present in the mesangium-bound areas. Each vesicle ranged from 46.9 to 87.1 nm, and vesicles were admixed with curved strands in larger SMPs. Diffuse effacement of the foot processes and condensation of the actin filaments were present in 56.0% and 62.4% of the samples, respectively. SMPs were associated with hematuria, proteinuria of ≥ 1 gm, and immune complex deposition in the patients with native kidneys, whereas they were related to hyperglycemia and elevated serum creatinine levels in the patients with renal allografts. Patients with native and transplanted kidneys most commonly presented with IgA nephropathy and allograft rejection, respectively. Finding SMPs in the renal biopsy samples is not rare and they may act as a footprint of podocyte injury caused by diverse etiologies. Considering their size, podocyte exosomes could be a possible source of SMPs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)236-242
Number of pages7
JournalUltrastructural Pathology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2021

Bibliographical note

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© 2021 Taylor & Francis Group, LLC.

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Structural Biology
  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine


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