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The word “nephrosis” was introduced in the medical literature at the beginning of the 20th century in an attempt to distinguish diseases of the kidney characterized by exudation and proliferation from those characterized by inflammation (nephritis). As it became apparent that this is not a single disease, not even a group of related diseases, the term “nephrosis” was supplanted by “nephrotic syndrome.” The clinical features that characterize the nephrotic syndrome result from alterations of the glomerular capillary wall and consist of heavy proteinuria and hypoalbuminemia, often associated with edema and generalized hyperlipidemia.

Proteinuria is the result of alterations in the integrity of the glomerular filtration barrier. This barrier is composed of three layers in series: the fenestrated endothelium, the glomerular basement membrane, and the visceral glomerular epithelium, comprised of podocytes and their slit diaphragms. Podocyte is the name of the epithelial...

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