Experimental autoimmune glomerulonephritis (EAG), an animal model of Goodpasture's disease, can be induced in Wistar Kyoto (WKY) rats by a single injection of rat glomerular basement membrane (GBM) in adjuvant. EAG is characterized by circulating and deposited anti-GBM antibodies, accompanied by focal necrotizing glomerulonephritis with crescent formation. The role of T cells in the pathogenesis of EAG remains unclear. T-cell costimulation is provided by ligation of CD28 with either B7.1 (CD80) or B7.2 (CD86) on antigen-presenting cells, and can be inhibited by a soluble form of CTLA4 (CTLA4-Ig) that binds to both B7.1 and B7.2. We examined the effect of CD28-B7 blockade on the development of EAG using native CTLA4-Ig or mutant CTLA4-Ig (Y100F-Ig), which selectively blocks B7.1. Native CTLA4-Ig treatment ameliorated EAG by several measures, including the levels of circulating anti-GBM antibodies, albuminuria, the deposition of IgG and fibrin in the glomeruli, the severity of glomerular abnormalities, and the numbers of infiltrating T cells and macrophages. Y100F-Ig resulted in a similar reduction in the severity of nephritis, but produced no overall reduction in circulating anti-GBM antibodies, although there was a reduction in IgG2a antibodies. We concluded that CD28-B7 blockade reduced autoantibody production and cellular infiltration of glomeruli, and prevented target organ injury. Our results suggest a key role for B7. 1 in costimulation of Th1-like autoimmune responses in the rat, and show that glomerular injury in EAG is largely dependent on cell-mediated mechanisms.