MSD Manual

Please confirm that you are not located inside the Russian Federation

honeypot link
Primary Glomerular Disorders That Can Cause Nephrotic Syndrome

Primary Glomerular Disorders That Can Cause Nephrotic Syndrome

Glomerular Disorder



Congenital and infantile nephrotic syndrome

These rare disorders are inherited. Congenital nephrotic syndrome (Finnish type) and diffuse mesangial sclerosis are the 2 main causes. They closely resemble focal segmental glomerulosclerosis. Symptoms are present at birth in the Finnish type and develop during childhood in diffuse mesangial sclerosis.

Focal segmental glomerulosclerosis

This disease damages glomeruli. It affects mainly adolescents but also young and middle-aged adults. It is more common in Black people.

The prognosis is poor because treatment is not very effective. In most adults and children, the disease progresses to end-stage kidney disease (ESKD) 5 to 20 years after diagnosis.

Membranoproliferative glomerulonephritis

This uncommon type of glomerulonephritis occurs primarily between the ages of 8 and 30. It is caused by deposits of immune complexes (combinations of antigens and antibodies) attaching to the kidneys, sometimes for unknown reasons. Antibodies are proteins made by the body to attack specific molecules called antigens.

Membranous nephropathy

This serious type of glomerular disease affects mainly adults. It is more common in White people.

In about 25% of people, protein stops being excreted in the urine. About 25% develop ESKD. The rest continue to have protein in the urine, as either the nephrotic syndrome or the asymptomatic proteinuria and hematuria syndrome.

Mesangial proliferative glomerulonephritis

This disorder accounts for about 3 to 5% of people with nephrotic syndrome of unknown cause. It affects people of all ages.

About 50% of people initially respond to corticosteroids. About 10 to 30% develop progressive kidney failure. Relapses may respond to cyclophosphamide.

Minimal change disease

This mild disease of the glomerulus is more common in children but also affects adults.

The prognosis is good. About 90% of children and nearly as many adults respond to treatment. In 30 to 50% of adults, disease relapses. After treatment for 1 or 2 years, more than 80% of people have permanent remission.