Lymphatic vessels are an essential part of the immunological response. Nevertheless, little is known about the pathology of renal transplant rejection. In part the reason may be not distinguishing peritubular capillaries from lymphatic vessels by periodic acid-Schiff (PAS) staining. This study examined the morphology of lymphatic vessels in early renal allografts using double staining with PAS and podoplanin. The 41 cases were divided into four categories: (I) acute antibody-mediated rejection, (II) acute cellular rejection, (III) peritubular capillaritis only, and (IV) controls. I through III had the evidence of peritubular capillaritis exceeding grade 1 on a biopsy obtained an average of 17.3 +/- 5.5 days after kidney transplantation. In addition, each lymphatic vessel density (LVD) and nodular lesion of lymphocytes (NL) were quantified as the number of each podoplanin-positive vascular profiles and NL per unit area of cortex measured Lumina Vision (Mitani). The average of the LVD was 73.0, 35.1, 37.1, and 8.1 per 10 mm2 for groups I to IV and the average of NL was 2.8, 5.5, 1.3, 0.9, respectively. There was a significant correlation between LVD and NL. NL showed a strong relation to the accumulation of lymphocytes in lymphatic vessels (AL); 22% of the AL scores were greater than the peritubular capillaritis grade. We found lymphatic vessels to be strongly associated with any kind of inflammatory process that occurred unexpectedly soon after kidney transplantation. In addition, to avoid misdiagnosis of peritubular capillaritis, NL in early renal allograft must especially be excluded.