Both the degree of proteinuria and the rate of progression of the kidney failure are more pronounced in collapsing glomerulopathy than in classical focal segmental glomerulosclerosis.
In the early 1980s, collapsing glomerulopathy was a relatively frequent diagnosis in persons with HIV infection (so-called HIV-associated nephropathy). Subsequently, a similar kidney lesion was described in HIV-negative patients, and the condition was termed collapsing glomerulopathy. In collapsing glomerulopathy, the glomerular lesions are often characterized by segmental or global glomerular collapse without sclerosis or hyalinosis.
It has been suggested that variants of APOL1 may predispose persons of African ancestry to collapsing glomerulopathy, but further research is needed.