Papers And Originals

Nephrotic Syndrome in Adult Africans in Nairobi

Br Med J 1972; 2 doi: (Published 15 April 1972) Cite this as: Br Med J 1972;2:131
  1. R. D. Barr,
  2. P. H. Rees,
  3. P. E. Cordy,
  4. A. Kungu,
  5. B. A. Woodger,
  6. H. M. Cameron


    The adult nephrotic syndrome as met with in Nairobi is predominantly encountered in young sophisticated African women, most of whom began to use skin-lightening creams containing mercury before the symptomatic onset of their illness. The particular form of mercury involved is well known to cause the nephrotic syndrome in other circumstances—for example, when applied to the skin in the treatment of psoriasis. In these circumstances the pathogenetic mechanism is thought to be of an idiosyncratic type. The use of mercury-containing skin-lightening creams in the patients studied seemed to be particularly associated with a “minimal-change” (“light-negative”) renal glomerular lesion, this lesion being present in half of the patients. The prognosis in this group of patients seems remarkably good, with 50% entering remission, 77% of these doing so spontaneously on discontinuing the use of the creams.