Nephrin is a podocyte adhesion molecule located at the slit diaphragm between adjacent glomerular epithelial cells. Mutations in the gene encoding nephrin result in the absence of nephrin or alterations in nephrin causing massive proteinuria in patients with congenital nephrotic syndrome. Given the importance of nephrin to the structural integrity of the glomerular filtration barrier, we postulated that it might also be altered in acquired forms of nephrotic syndrome (NS). To test this hypothesis, frozen kidney biopsy sections from 29 pediatric patients with acquired NS and 5 controls were examined for expression of nephrin. The pathological diagnoses were minimal change disease (MCNS) (19) and focal segmental glomerulosclerosis (FSGS) (10). To determine if nephrin expression differed between children and adults with NS, 10 adult patients and 3 controls were also examined. Nephrin expression was evaluated by immunoperoxidase staining with a monoclonal antibody against the extracellular FnIII portion of human nephrin. In all cases, nephrin expression was seen along the glomerular basement membrane in a finely granular/linear pattern. Expression of nephrin was similar to controls in all 19 patients with MCNS and all 10 patients with FSGS. Areas of sclerosis in patients with FSGS did not demonstrate nephrin expression. A distinctly granular pattern to nephrin expression was seen in adult patients with NS as well as controls. These findings suggest that an alteration in nephrin expression is not a feature of acquired forms of NS in childhood.