The quality of our cells and tissues is closely related to adhesion molecules, which are broadly represented in mammals by several families of membrane proteins. However, the exact role of each of these molecules is still obscure and warrants intensive investigation. As epithelial polarization is a defining differentiated feature of this cellular barrier (in which integrins play an important role), several reviews in the issue at hand focus on the processes triggered by epithelial adhesion molecules and their embryology and pathobiology. Further reviews concentrate on specific glomerular and tubular resident cell types, illustrating their changing phenotypical properties in response to changes in the environmental cues. As the ubiquitous cellular representative - the fibroblast - may be intricately involved in the processes of excessive deposition of matrix proteins or their inadequate degradation, another issue treated is how adhesive properties of fibroblasts modulate their synthetic and remodeling potential. Moreover, some reviews are dedicated to the emerging therapeutic strategies based on integrins and other adhesion molecules.