Lipoprotein(a) [LP(a)] is an independent risk factor for cardiovascular disease, and it has also been speculated that it promotes thrombosis. Recent studies have shown that patients with gross proteinuria have greatly increased plasma levels of Lp(a), but the genesis is obscure. In the present study, plasma Lp(a) levels were measured in 31 patients with nephrotic syndrome (NS), 24 patients with IgA nephropathy and 43 healthy control subjects. Lp(a) levels were significantly elevated in NS (median 49.0 mg/dl), in contrast to the control subjects and patients with IgA nephropathy (median 7.0 and 9.7 mg/dl, respectively). Plasma Lp(a) levels fell markedly in 10 of 10 NS patients after remission. In NS, Lp(a) levels correlated directly with serum cholesterol levels (P < 0.05) and indirectly with plasma orosomucoid levels (P < 0.05), but not with serum albumin, triglycerides, HDL cholesterol, urinary protein excretion or GFR. In addition, Lp(a) tended to be higher in NS patients with edema (median 54.3 mg/dl) than in patients without edema (19.0 mg/dl; P = 0.06). Nine NS patients were further evaluated with plasma ANP levels and urinary sodium excretion. Plasma Lp(a) correlated directly with ANP (P < 0.01) and indirectly with urinary sodium excretion (P < 0.05). Excellent correlations were found between Lp(a) and VLDL cholesterol and VLDL triglycerides, respectively, suggesting a close link between Lp(a) and triglyceride-rich lipoproteins in nephrosis.