Recent studies have documented that remote organs are affected by ischemic injury to the kidney. Here we studied whether the liver also suffers damage during induction of renal ischemia-reperfusion in rats and compared this to bilateral nephrectomy. Hepatic levels of tumor necrosis factor-alpha increased significantly after 6 and 24 h of renal ischemia or nephrectomy. Malondialdehyde, an index of lipid peroxidation, increased while total glutathione was decreased in the liver in both the renal ischemia and nephrectomy groups, suggesting activation of oxidative stress. Expression of liver spermine-spermidine acetyl transferase, an enzyme upregulated in early phases of hepatic injury was significantly increased 6 h after either kidney ischemia or nephrectomy. Apoptosis was increased in hepatocytes 24 h after nephrectomy. We also found histological evidence of hepatocyte injury following both ischemia and bilateral nephrectomy. Infusion of reduced glutathione, before the induction of renal ischemia, significantly improved liver architecture and was associated with a reduction in hepatic malondialdehyde and serum alanine transaminase levels. Our study shows that acute kidney ischemia or renal failure activates oxidative stress and promotes inflammation, apoptosis, and tissue damage in hepatocytes.