Our knowledge of amyloid disease of the kidneys is of comparatively recent date. Rokitansky, in 1842, described the amyloid kidney as representing a special variety of nephritis. From the appearance of the organs, on account of their resemblances to bacon, he described them as speckartig, which has been rendered into English as "lardaceous." The term "waxy" has also been employed. Ten years later Meckel discovered the characteristic reaction with compound solution of iodin, and shortly afterward Virchow showed that this reaction was dependent not on the presence of cholesterin, but upon that of amylon, a substance resembling vegetable cellulose, and subsequently found to be a proteid.
The morbid process is a degenerative one, and, as Litten1 points out in a recent communication, it does not generally arise spontaneously, but it is almost always secondary to some cachectic condition, especially tuberculosis, scrofulosis, suppuration of the skin, bones or mucous membranes,