BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVES: FSGS is the primary cause of childhood nephrotic syndrome leading to ESRD. Permeability factors, including circulating serum soluble urokinase-type plasminogen activator receptor (suPAR), have been postulated as putative causes in adults with primary FSGS. Similar results have yet to be proven in children. DESIGN, SETTING, PARTICIPANTS, & MEASUREMENTS: This cross-sectional single-center study assessed the association of serum suPAR in children with FSGS or other glomerular and nonglomerular kidney diseases. RESULTS: This study examined 110 samples retrieved from 99 individuals (between January 2011 and April 2012), aged 1-21 years; of these individuals, 20 had primary FSGS, 24 had non-FSGS glomerular disease, 26 had nonglomerular kidney disease, and 29 were healthy controls. suPAR levels were not significantly different in children with FSGS, non-FSGS glomerular disease, and healthy controls (P>0.05). However, suPAR levels (median [25%-75%]) were higher in children with nonglomerular kidney disease (3385 pg/ml [2695-4392]) versus FSGS (2487 pg/ml [2191-3351]; P<0.05). Female patients with nephrotic-range proteinuria (U-Pr/Cr >2) had lower suPAR levels than those without proteinuria (2380 pg/ml [2116-2571] versus 3125 pg/ml [2516-4198], respectively; P<0.001). This trend was not seen among male participants; suPAR levels in all female participants were lower than in male participants (P=0.03). Thirty-four patients studied were kidney transplant recipients; transplant status was not associated with suPAR levels in patients with FSGS or non-FSGS diagnoses, independent of proteinuria, race, or sex (P>0.05). CONCLUSIONS: On the basis of these results, circulating suPAR is unlikely the leading cause for childhood idiopathic FSGS.