Minimal change nephropathy is responsible for 90% of the cases of nephrotic syndrome in children less than 5 years of age. It also occurs in adults - approx 20%.
The name is derived from the fact that the only detectable abnormality histologically is fusion and deformity of the foot processes under the electron microscope. Both light microscopy and immunofluorescence are unremarkable.
The condition is most frequent in children aged between two and four years. It has been suggested that MCD is more common in atopic patients, especially those posessing HLA-DR7. However, a direct link between allergic sensitisation and the onset of MCD is yet to be established.
MCD is steroid-responsive and, in general, does not lead to chronic renal failure.