Tight junction claudins and the kidney in sickness and in health

Academic Article


  • The epithelial cell tight junction has several functions including the control of paracellular transport between epithelial cells. Renal paracellular transport has been long recognized to exhibit unique characteristics within different segments of the nephron, functions as an important component of normal renal physiology and has been speculated to contribute to renal related pathology if functioning abnormally. The discovery of a large family of tight junction associated 4-transmembrane spanning domain proteins named claudins has advanced our understanding on how the paracellular permeability properties of tight junctions are determined. In the kidney, claudins are expressed in a nephron-specific pattern and are major determinants of the paracellular permeability of tight junctions in different nephron segments. The combination of nephron segment claudin expression patterns, inherited renal diseases, and renal epithelial cell culture models is providing important clues about how tight junction claudin molecules function in different segments of the nephron under normal and pathological conditions. This review discusses early observations of renal tubule paracellular transport and more recent information on the discovery of the claudin family of tight junction associated membrane proteins and how they relate to normal renal function as well as diseases of the human kidney.
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Balkovetz DF
  • Start Page

  • 858
  • End Page

  • 863
  • Volume

  • 1788
  • Issue

  • 4