Advanced glycation end products (AGEs) have been linked to the pathogenesis of diabetic nephropathy. Here we tested the effect of AGE-modified bovine serum albumin (AGE-BSA) on differentiated mouse podocytes in culture. Differential display and real-time PCR analyses showed that in addition to neuropilin-1, the entire signaling receptor complex of neuropilin-2, semaphorin-3A, and plexin-A1, was significantly reduced by AGE-BSA as was neuropilin-1 protein. The effect was specific for podocytes compared to isolated mesangial and tubular epithelial cells. Further, AGE-BSA was not toxic to podocytes. Neutopilin-1 expression was decreased in glomeruli of diabetic db/db mice compared to their non-diabetic littermates. Transcripts of both neuropilins were found to be decreased in renal biopsies from patients with diabetic nephropathy compared to transplant donors. Podocyte migration was inhibited by AGE-BSA with similar results found in the absence of AGE-BSA when neuropilin-1 expression was down-regulated by siRNA. In contrast, podocyte migration was stimulated by overexpression of neuropilin-1 even in the presence of AGE-BSA. Our study shows that AGE-BSA inhibited podocyte migration by down-regulating neuropilin-1. The decreased migration could lead to adherence of uncovered areas of the glomerular basement membrane to Bowman's capsule contributing to focal glomerulosclerosis.