We studied the role of the C5b-9 membrane attack complex in two models of inflammatory glomerulonephritis (GN) initiated by acute glomerular endothelial injury in Piebold-viral-Glaxo (PVG) complement-sufficient rats (C+), C6-deficient rats (C6-), and rats systematically depleted of complement with cobra venom factor (CVF). GN was induced by performing a left nephrectomy and selectively perfusing the right kidney with either 1) the lectin concanavalin A (Con A) followed by complement-fixing anti-Con A (Con A GN) or 2) purified complement-fixing goat anti-rat glomerular endothelial cell (GEN) antibody [immune-mediated thrombotic microangiopathy (ITM)]. Comparable levels of GEN apoptosis were detected in C+ animals in both models. CVF administration reduced GEN apoptosis by 10- to 12-fold. GEN apoptosis was C5b-9 dependent because PVG C6- rats were protected from GEN loss. Furthermore, functional inhibition of the cell surface complement regulatory protein CD59 by renal perfusion with anti-CD59 antibody in ITM resulted in a 3.5-fold increase in GEN apoptosis. Last, in Con A GN, abrogation of GEN apoptosis preserved endothelial integrity and renal function. This study demonstrates the specific role of C5b-9 in the induction of GEN apoptosis in experimental inflammatory GN, a finding with implications for diseases associated with the presence of antiendothelial cell antibodies.