The response to glomerular and tubulointerstitial cell injury in most forms of renal disease includes changes in cell number (proliferation and apoptosis) and cell size (hypertrophy). These events typically precede and may be responsible for the accumulation of extracellular matrix proteins that leads to a decrease in renal function. There is increasing evidence showing that positive (cyclins and cyclin-dependent kinases) and negative (cyclin-dependent kinase inhibitors) cell cycle regulatory proteins have a critical role in regulating these fundamental cellular responses to immune and nonimmune forms of injury. Data now show that altering specific cell cycle proteins affects renal cell proliferation and improves renal function. Equally exciting is the expanding body of literature showing novel biological roles for cell cycle proteins in the regulation of cell hypertrophy and apoptosis. With increasing understanding of the role for cell cycle regulatory proteins in renal disease comes the hope for potential therapeutic interventions.