The mechanism responsible for proteinuria in non-genetic idiopathic nephrotic syndrome (iNS) is unknown. Animal models suggest an effect of free radicals on podocytes, and indirect evidence in humans confirm this implication. We determined the oxidative burst by blood CD15+ polymorphonucleates (PMN) utilizing the 5-(and-6)-carboxy-2',7'-dichlorofluorescin diacetate (DCF-DA) fluorescence assay in 38 children with iNS. Results were compared with PMN from normal subjects and patients with renal pathologies considered traditionally to be models of oxidative stress [six anti-neutrophil cytoplasmic autoantibody (ANCA) vasculitis, seven post-infectious glomerulonephritis]. Radicals of oxygen (ROS) production was finally determined in a patient with immunodeficiency, polyendocrinopathy, enteropathy X-linked (IPEX) and in seven iNS children after treatment with Rituximab. Results demonstrated a 10-fold increase of ROS production by resting PMN in iNS compared to normal PMN. When PMN were separated from other cells, ROS increased significantly in all conditions while a near-normal production was restored by adding autologous cells and/or supernatants in controls, vasculitis and post-infectious glomerulonephritis but not in iNS. Results indicated that the oxidative burst was regulated by soluble factors and that this regulatory circuit was altered in iNS. PMN obtained from a child with IPEX produced 100 times more ROS during exacerbation of clinical symptoms and restored to a near normal-level in remission. Rituximab decreased ROS production by 60%. In conclusion, our study shows that oxidant production is increased in iNS for an imbalance between PMN and other blood cells. Regulatory T cells (Tregs) and CD20 are probably involved in this regulation. Overall, our observations reinforce the concept that oxidants deriving from PMN are implicated in iNS.