To study the pathophysiology of hyperlipidemia in nephrotic syndrome, we compared lipid metabolism in the nephrotic stage (stage 1) and in stage 2, when albuminuria had subsided, in 11 patients with minimal-change disease treated with corticosteroid. High-density lipoprotein (HDL) levels were decreased and HDL contained more cholesterol and triglyceride per unit of protein in stage 1 in the patients than in age-matched healthy controls. The urinary protein level was positively correlated only with low-density lipoprotein (LDL) levels, suggesting that the increased albumin clearance stimulated LDL production. Serum cholesterol levels were positively correlated with apolipo-protein E levels and were negatively correlated with lecithin-cholesterol acyltransferase activity in the nephrotic stage; the opposite correlations were seen in controls. Although triglycerides in HDL had normalized at stage 2, triglycerides in LDL and very-low-density lipoprotein did not return toward normal until stage 3, when serum cholesterol levels were normalized.