Autoimmune diseases are far more common in women than in men. In the incidence of systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), the female-to-male ratio is as high as 10:1. This suggests that sex hormones may play a fundamental role in determining the susceptibility to these diseases. In order to investigate the sex-related differences in the inducibility of chronic graft-versus-host disease-related experimental lupus nephritis, lymphocytes from female DBA/2 donor mice were administered to either male or female (C57BL10 x DBA/2)F1 recipients. An additional group of male recipients received lymphocytes from male DBA/2 donors. After four cell transfers, female recipients developed a significantly higher albuminuria than both male groups. Serum concentrations of autoantibodies against glomerular basement membrane (GBM), collagen IV, and laminin were significantly higher in females 2-4 weeks after induction. Levels of circulating autoantibodies against renal tubular epithelial antigens (RTE) and nuclear antigens were not different between the sexes. In transfer studies, the necessity of the presence of anti-GBM and anti-RTE autoantibodies for the development of glomerulonephritis was confirmed. These findings indicate that: (i) in this model of lupus nephritis, susceptibility to glomerulonephritis is strongly influenced by sex-related genes; and (ii) among the variety of autoantibodies occurring in this model of SLE, both anti-GBM and anti-RTE autoantibodies play a key role in the pathogenesis of glomerulonephritis.