Macrophages are heterogeneous immune cell populations that include classically activated and alternatively activated (M2) macrophages. We examined the anti-inflammatory effect of ANG II type 1 receptor (AT(1)R) blocker (ARB) on glomerular inflammation in a rat model of anti-glomerular basement membrane (GBM) glomerulonephritis (GN). The study focused on infiltrating CD8(+) and CD4(+) cells and macrophages, as well as the heterogeneity of intraglomerular macrophages. Wistar-Kyoto rats were treated with high-dose olmesartan (3 mg.kg(-1).day(-1)), low-dose olmesartan (0.3 mg.kg(-1).day(-1)), or vehicle (control) 7 days before induction of anti-GBM GN. Control rats showed mainly CD8(+) cells and ED1(+) macrophages, with a few CD4(+) cells infiltrating the glomeruli. Necrotizing and crescentic glomerular lesions developed by day 7 with the increase of proteinuria. AT(1)R was expressed on CD8(+) and CD4(+) cells and on ED1(+) macrophages. Low-dose ARB had no anti-inflammatory effects in anti-GBM GN. However, high-dose ARB reduced glomerular infiltration of CD8(+) cells and ED1(+) macrophages and suppressed necrotizing and crescentic lesions by days 5 to 7 (P < 0.05). In addition, high-dose ARB reduced the numbers of ED3(+)-activated macrophages, suppressed glomerular TNF-alpha and IFN-gamma production, and downregulated M1-related chemokine and cytokines (monocyte chemoattractant protein type 1, IL-6, and IL-12). High-dose ARB also enhanced ED2(+) M2 macrophages by day 7 with upregulation of glomerular IL-4 and IL-13 and augmented CCL17, IL-1 receptor antagonist, and IL-10. We concluded that high-dose ARB inhibits glomerular inflammation by increasing the numbers of M2 macrophages and upregulation of anti-inflammatory cytokines and by suppressing M1 macrophage development with downregulation of M1-related proinflammatory cytokines.