Complement activation plays a key role in mediating apoptosis, inflammation, and transplant rejection. In this study, the role of the complement 5a receptor (C5aR) was examined in human renal allografts and in an allogenic mouse model of renal transplant rejection. In human kidney transplants with acute rejection, C5aR expression was increased in renal tissue and in cells infiltrating the tubulointerstitium. Similar findings were observed in mice. When recipient mice were treated once daily with a C5aR antagonist before transplantation, long-term renal allograft survival was markedly improved compared with vehicle-treatment (75 versus 0%), and apoptosis was reduced. Furthermore, treatment with a C5aR antagonist significantly attenuated monocyte/macrophage infiltration, perhaps a result of reduced levels of monocyte chemoattractant protein 1 and the intercellular adhesion molecule 1. In vitro, C5aR antagonism inhibited intercellular adhesion molecule 1 upregulation in primary mouse aortic endothelial cells and reduced adhesion of peripheral blood mononuclear cells. Furthermore, C5aR blockade markedly reduced alloreactive T cell priming. These results demonstrate that C5aR plays an important role in mediating acute kidney allograft rejection, suggesting that pharmaceutical targeting of C5aR may have potential in transplantation medicine.