Numerous reports during the last 60 years have reported a strong association between idiopathic nephrotic syndrome and atopic disorders. Idiopathic nephrotic syndrome can be precipitated by allergic reactions and has been associated with both aeroallergens (pollens, mold, and dust) and food allergies. Patients with idiopathic nephrotic syndrome also may show increased serum immunoglobulin E (IgE) levels. A review of the literature suggests that although some idiopathic nephrotic syndrome cases may be associated with allergies, evidence that it is a type of allergic disorder or can be induced by a specific allergen is weak. Rather, it is likely that the proteinuria and increased IgE levels in patients with idiopathic nephrotic syndrome are caused by increased levels of interleukin 13 observed in these patients. Recent studies suggest that interleukin 13, a known stimulator of IgE response, may mediate proteinuria in patients with minimal change disease because of its ability to directly induce CD80 expression on the podocyte.
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