Two monoclonal antibodies (mAb M4d2 and M4d3) specific for the alpha 2-fragment (C4d), and one antibody (mAb M4c3) specific for the gamma-chain of human complement protein C4, have been tested for cross-reactivity against mammalian complement. These mAb have also been found to react with C4 from guinea-pig (mAb M4d2 and M4c3) as well as from cattle, baboon and rhesus monkey (mAb M4d3 and M4c3) in an activation ELISA. Since reactivity of mAb M4d2 and M4c3 included guinea-pig complement, the specific recognition of mammalian C4 could be confirmed with sera from C4-deficient (def') guinea-pigs. mAb M4d2 or M4d3, but not mAb M4c3, stained glomerular deposits within renal tissue sections from pig, cattle and guinea-pig. In the case of mAb M4d2, specificity of that staining could also be demonstrated in kidney specimens from C4-def' guinea-pigs. It can be concluded that, as in humans, the C4d fragment is also present in mammalian glomeruli. Compared with normal guinea-pigs, the C4-def' and C2-def' animals showed markedly increased glomerular deposits of IgM. It appears that glomerular deposition of complement C4d in mammals: (1) indicates activation via the classical pathway; (2) represents a general phenomenon of renal homeostasis; and (3) seems to be involved in the physiological clearance of immune complexes.