The role of angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) insertion/deletion (I/D) gene polymorphism in various renal disorders has been investigated. We evaluated the association between the clinical characteristics and ACE genotypes of Turkish children with primary focal segmental glomerulosclerosis (FSGS) and steroid-sensitive nephrotic syndrome (SSNS). Patients with FSGS (n=30) were classified into two groups: one with remission together with stable renal function (n=22) and the other without remission and with impaired renal function (n=8). We classified children with SSNS (n=43) that were followed for at least 4 years into two subgroups as having more frequent (n=19) and less frequent relapses (n=11). The DD genotype was more frequent in the SSNS group than that in controls (37% vs. 17%, chi(2)=4.98, P=0.025). However, among SSNS subgroups, the frequency of the DD genotype was not different. The distribution of ACE genotype was similar among patients with FSGS and SSNS. There was no difference in the ACE I/D distribution between children with FSGS and normal controls (II 10%, ID 60%, DD 30% vs. II 13%, ID 70%, DD 17%). The frequency of the DD genotype was higher in FSGS patients with declining renal function (63%) than in those with stable renal function (18%) (P=0.031). Progressive renal impairment was significantly more frequent in patients with FSGS with the homozygous D allele compared with FSGS patients with ID and II genotypes. Our results indicate that the DD genotype may be a risk factor for the development of progressive renal impairment in children with FSGS; however, larger studies are required to confirm this.