We have studied serological and clinical response to live, attenuated varicella zoster virus (VZV) vaccine (Varilrix, SmithKline Beecham) in 20 patients with steroid-sensitive nephrotic syndrome (SSNS) in remission and 22 normal controls who had no history of varicella and no detectable antibody to VZV Nephrotic patients included 15 boys and 5 girls, with a mean age of 4.7 years (range 2-11.4 years). The controls were healthy age-matched children (13 girls and 9 boys). Seventeen patients with SSNS (85%) and 19 healthy controls (86%) seroconverted 8 weeks after vaccination. One patient with SSNS had a relapse 20 days after vaccination, and 1 child in the control group had a rash. Two years after vaccination, antibodies to VZV were detected in 12 of 17 responders, 2 of 3 non-responders, and 13 of 22 controls. Within 2 years of vaccination, 3 of the vaccine responder children with SSNS had a mild varicella infection. Two responder and 1 non-responder nephrotic children and 9 controls were lost to long-term follow-up. Our results show that immunization with a single dose of VZV vaccine is safe and effective in children with SSNS in remission.