Patients undergoing continuous ambulatory peritoneal dialysis are classified according to their peritoneal permeability as low transporter (low solute permeability) or High transporter (high solute permeability). Factors that determine the differences in permeability between them have not been fully disclosed. We investigated morphological features of cultured human peritoneal mesothelial cells from low or high transporter patients and its response to All trans retinoic Acid (ATRA, vitamin A active metabolite), as compared to non-uremic human peritoneal mesothelial cells. Control cells were isolated from human omentum. High or low transporter cells were obtained from dialysis effluents. Cells were cultured in media containing ATRA (0, 50, 100 or 200 nM). We studied length and distribution of microvilli and cilia (scanning electron microscopy), epithelial (cytokeratin, claudin-1, ZO-1 and occludin) and mesenchymal (vimentin and α-smooth muscle actin) transition markers by immunofluorescence and Western blot, and transforming growth factor β1 expression by Western blot. Low and high transporter exhibited hypertrophic cells, reduction in claudin-1, occludin and ZO-1 expression, cytokeratin and vimentin disorganization and positive α-smooth muscle actin label. Vimentin, α-smooth muscle actin and transforming growth factor- β1 were overexpressed in low transporter. Ciliated cells were diminished in low and high transporters. Microvilli number and length were severely reduced in high transporter. ATRA reduced hypertrophic cells number in low transporter. It also improved cytokeratin and vimentin organization, decreased vimentin and α-smooth muscle actin expression, and increased claudin 1, occludin and ZO-1 expression, in low and high transporter. In low transporter, ATRA reduced transforming growth factor-β1 expression. ATRA augmented percentage of ciliated cells in low and high transporter. It also augmented cilia length in high transporter. Alterations in structure, epithelial mesenchymal markers and transforming growth factor-β1 expression were differential between low and high transporter. Beneficial effects of ATRA were improved human peritoneal mesothelial cells morphology tending to normalize structures. © 2013 Retana et al.