Politecnico di Torino - Corso Duca degli Abruzzi, 24 - 10129 Torino, ITALY

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BV22Drug toxicity assaysKidney pathologiesRenal glomerular barrier


A new three-dimensional co-culture method of podocytes and endothelial cells for in vitro model study of pathologies affecting kidney and, in particular, the renal glomerular filtration barrier.

Technical features

This method allows podocytes and endothelial cells to grow on a isoporous membrane, covering the external and internal side respectively. Thus, cells make adhesion only to the membrane itself, though on the opposite sides. Compared to artificial capillaries, this system is unexpensive and easier to use and does not require specific equipment. This method, as per in vivo situation, allows multiple analyses on both cell types. The presence of the membrane between the two cell types and the complete separation of their own supernatants allows to perform permeability assays,  different functional assays in the two compartments, and to challenge one cell type and then measure the effects on the other cell type. Further, cells on both sides of the membrane can be immunostained for any molecule of interest, and analysed by light microscopy, electron microscopy and transmission microscopy, allowing direct evaluation of cell protein expression.

Possible Applications

  • In vitro study model of pathologies affecting kidney glomerular permeability;
  • Drug delivery tests (particularly to the renal glomerular filtration barrier);
  • Drug toxicity assays.


  • Effective 3D method for co-culturing podocytes and endothelial cells;
  • Simple and inexpensive application.