The history of IgA Nephropathy is notable, in large part due to the many famous names of medicine which are associated with it.
The disease was first described in 1801 by Heberden (of "Heberden's nodes" fame) in a 5-year old child with abdominal pain, hematuria, and purpura of the legs. Then in 1837, Johann Schonlein and Eduard Henoch built upon these discoveries by further characterizing the disease in pediatric populations. It was not until 1968 that the pathogenic role of IgA depositions was revealed, based on the work of French pathologist Jean Berger (left). Prior to his discovery that mesangial IgA deposits are present in these patients, many had believed IgG to be the sole nephritogenic immunoglobulin. For quite some time, the disease was referred to as "Berger's Disease" (not to be confused with Buerger's Disease, or thromboangiitis obliterans), though it has largely been replaced by IgA Nephropathy in recent times.