In primary focal and segmental glomerulosclerosis (FSGS) renal prognosis is poor if no remission of proteinuria can be obtained by treatment. In some patients a permeability factor, responsible for damaging the glomerular epithelial cell and detectable by an in vitro test (GVV-test), seems to be present in the serum. We determined the effects of an immunadsorption treatment (IAT) on proteinuria and glomerular permselectivity (using a neutral dextran and dextransulfate-sieving technique to assess glomerular size and charge selectivity) in five patients with FSGS in the native kidneys and three patients with recurrence of FSGS after kidney transplantation. Furthermore, we performed the GVV-test using sera obtained from the patients before and after therapy. IAT reduced proteinuria by more than 50% in four patients, all of whom had an improvement in glomerular-size selectivity. Charge selectivity was better preserved after therapy in three out of these four subjects. The GVV-test prior to IAT was positive in two patients who also responded clinically to therapy. After IAT the GVV-test was negative in all patients, indicating an elimination of the proteinuric factor in the two previously positive patients. We conclude that a positive GVV-test before treatment makes a favourable response of IAT on proteinuria likely in patients with FSGS. If a reduction of proteinuria can be obtained by IAT this is due to an improvement in glomerular size and/or charge selectivity.