From a series of 470 specimens of renal tissue examined by immunofluorescence microscopy, 20 specimens were identified and studied in detail from patients without evidence of systemic disease in which IgA was the predominant localizing immunoglobulin. All patients presented with hematuria which was recurrent or persistent, often being exacerbated by upper respiratory infection. Most of the group pursued a benign clinical course with little evidence of decline in renal function. Histopathologic changes in renal biopsy specimens of most of the group consisted of a proliferative glomerulonephritis of variable intensity. Characteristic alterations were seen by electron microscopy which included the presence of electron-dense deposits within the mesangium, the hilar regions of the glomerulus and the basement membrane of Bowman's capsule. Evidence for activation of complement by the alternate pathway at C3 was found with properdin localization in 14 of 15 specimens and with the absence of detectable Clq and C4 in 15 specimens studied for these early acting components. It is concluded that the combined clinical, morphologic and immunologic findings warrant consideration of IgA nephropathy as a distinct clinicopathologic entity.