Studies have implicated that lipoxinA4 (LXA4) inhibited nuclear factor-kappaB (NF-kappaB), Akt/PKB and PI 3-kinase activity and proliferation of glomerular mesangial cells. It is speculated that LXA4 might serve as pro-apoptotic factor. Rat renal interstitial fibroblasts (NRK-49F cells) were exposed to LXA4 in 5% FCS for 24 h. LXA4 at 0.1 and 1 microM induced 9.83% and 33.82% apoptosis of the cells, respectively, upregulated the expression of calpain 10 and Smac, the levels of [Ca2+]i and activity of caspase-3, and downregulated the activity of STAT3 and threonine phosphorylated Akt1. Transfection of calpain 10 or Smac antisense oligodeoxynucleotide into the cells inhibited the LXA4-induced apoptosis, activity of caspase-3. Pretreatment of the cells with calcium inhibitor SK&F96365 inhibited the LXA4-induced apoptosis, levels of [Ca2+]i, expression of calpain 10 and Smac. In conclusion, LXA4 at high concentrations induced apoptosis of renal interstitial fibroblasts via [Ca2+]i-dependent upregulation of calpain 10 and Smac expression.