Background: Podocytes (highly specialized and terminally differentiated epithelial cells) are integral components of the glomerular filtration barrier that are vulnerable to a variety of injuries and, as a result, they undergo a series of changes ranging from hypertrophy to detachment and apoptosis. Podocyte injury is a major determinant in proteinuric kidney disease and identification of potential therapeutic targets for preventing podocyte injury has clinical importance. Although numerous studies have achieved dramatic advances in the understanding of podocyte biology and its relevance to renal injury, few effective and specific therapies are available. Summary: Epigenetic modifications have been proven to play important roles in the pathogenesis of kidney diseases. Among them, histone deacetylase (HDAC)-mediated epigenetic acetylation in the kidney has attracted much attention, which may play multiple roles in both kidney development and the pathogenesis of kidney disease. Recent studies have demonstrated that HDAC protect against podocyte injury by regulation of inflammation, apoptosis, autophagy, mitochondrial function, and insulin resistance. In this review, we summarize recent advances in the understanding of the functions and regulatory mechanisms of HDAC in podocytes and associated proteinuric kidney diseases. In addition, we provide evidence of the potential therapeutic effects of HDAC inhibitors for proteinuric kidney disease. Key Messages: Pharmacological targeting of HDAC-mediated epigenetic processes may open new therapeutic avenues for chronic kidney disease.
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