1. Academic Validation
  2. Podocyte-Released Migrasomes in Urine Serve as an Indicator for Early Podocyte Injury

Podocyte-Released Migrasomes in Urine Serve as an Indicator for Early Podocyte Injury

  • Kidney Dis (Basel). 2020 Nov;6(6):422-433. doi: 10.1159/000511504.
Ying Liu 1 2 Shan Li 1 2 Weiwei Rong 2 Caihong Zeng 1 Xiaodong Zhu 1 Qilin Chen 1 Limin Li 1 2 Zhi-Hong Liu 1 Ke Zen 1 2


  • 1 National Clinical Research Center of Kidney Diseases, Jinling Hospital, Nanjing University School of Medicine, Nanjing, China.
  • 2 Jiangsu Engineering Research Center for MicroRNA Biotechnology, Nanjing University School of Life Sciences, Nanjing, China.

Background: Levels of urinary microvesicles, which are increased during various kidney injuries, have diagnostic potential for renal diseases. However, the significance of urinary microvesicles as a renal disease indicator is dampened by the difficulty to ascertain their cell source.

Objectives: The aim of this study was to demonstrate that podocytes can release migrasomes, a unique class of microvesicle with size ranging between 400 and 2,000 nm, and the urine level of migrasomes may serve as novel non-invasive biomarker for early podocyte injury.

Method: In this study, immunofluorescence labeling, electronic microscopy, nanosite, and sequential centrifugation were used to purify and analyze migrasomes.

Results: Migrasomes released by podocytes differ from exosomes as they have different content and mechanism of release. Compared to podocytes, renal tubular cells secrete markedly less migrasomes. Moreover, secretion of migrasomes by human or murine podocytes was strongly augmented during podocyte injuries induced by LPS, puromycin amino nucleoside (PAN), or a high concentration of glucose (HG). LPS, PAN, or HG-induced podocyte migrasome release, however, was blocked by Rac-1 inhibitor. Strikingly, a higher level of podocyte migrasomes in urine was detected in mice with PAN-nephropathy than in control mice. In fact, increased urinary migrasome number was detected earlier than elevated proteinuria during PAN-nephropathy, suggesting that urinary migrasomes are a more sensitive podocyte injury indicator than proteinuria. Increased urinary migrasome number was also detected in diabetic nephropathy patients with proteinuria level <5.5 g/day.

Conclusions: Our findings reveal that podocytes release the "injury-related" migrasomes during migration and provide urinary podocyte migrasome as a potential diagnostic marker for early podocyte injury.


Migrasome; Podocyte; Proteinuria; Puromycin amino nucleoside; Rac-1.