The transient receptor potential (TRP) superfamily consists, in mammals, of six protein subfamilies, TRPC, TRPM, TRPV, TRPA, TRPML and TRPP. TRPs are cation channels involved in many physiological processes and in the pathogenesis of various disorders. In the kidney, TRP channels are expressed along the nephron, and a role for some of these channels in renal function has been proposed. TRPC3 is thought to facilitate calcium ion influx into the principal cells of the collecting duct in response to vasopressin. TRPM3 and TRPV4 might be osmosensors, whereas the TRPP1/TRPP2 complex could function as a mechanosensor in the cilia of renal epithelial cells. A number of kidney diseases have also been linked to dysfunctional activity of TRPs. TRPC6 dysfunction has been associated with the onset of focal segmental glomerosclerosis; TRPP2 dysfunction is linked to autosomal-dominant polycystic kidney disease, TRPM6 mutations underlie hypomagnesemia with secondary hypocalcemia, and TRPV1 dysfunction is implicated in renal hypertension. A link between TRPC1 dysfunction and diabetic nephropathy has also been suggested in an animal model. Animal studies have implicated a role for TRPV5 in idiopathic hypercalciuria and vitamin D-dependent rickets, although these observations have not been confirmed in patients. This Review focuses on the role of renal TRP channels in health and disease.
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