Proteinuria: From Ancient Observation to 19th Century Scientific Study

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We present the evolution of ideas on the concept of proteinuria from antiquity through the 19th century.

Materials and Methods:

We conducted a thorough study of texts, medical books and reports along with a review of the available literature in PubMed®.


Observations on proteinuria date back nearly 2,500 years to the works of Hippocrates. In the 17th and 18th centuries physicians and clinical chemists, particularly Frederick Dekkers, Domenico Cotugno and Charles Wells, further increased the knowledge of proteinuria. Contrary to popular belief the first appearance of the term albuminuria in print should be attributed to Martin Solon in 1837.


Observations on proteinuria span approximately 2,500 years. The work of physicians during the 17th and 18th centuries led to its establishment as a separate clinical entity associated with renal disease.

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