Platelet-activating factor (PAF), a potent lipid mediator with various biological activities, plays an important role in inflammation by recruiting leukocytes. In this study we used platelet-activating factor receptor (PAFR)-deficient mice to elucidate the role of PAF in inflammatory renal injury induced by folic acid administration. PAFR-deficient mice showed significant amelioration of renal dysfunction and pathological findings such as acute tubular damage with neutrophil infiltration, lipid peroxidation observed with antibody to 4-hydroxy-2-hexenal (day 2), and interstitial fibrosis with macrophage infiltration associated with expression of monocyte chemoattractant protein-1 and tumor necrosis factor-alpha in the kidney (day 14). Acute tubular damage was attenuated by neutrophil depletion using a monoclonal antibody (RB6-8C5), demonstrating the contribution of neutrophils to acute phase injury. Macrophage infiltration was also decreased when treatment with a PAF antagonist (WEB2086) was started after acute phase. In vitro chemotaxis assay using a Boyden chamber demonstrated that PAF exhibits a strong chemotactic activity for macrophages. These results indicate that PAF is involved in pathogenesis of folic acid-induced renal injury by activating neutrophils in acute phase and macrophages in chronic interstitial fibrosis. Inhibiting the PAF pathway might be therapeutic to kidney injury from inflammatory cells.