Overproduction of transforming growth factor-beta 1 (TGF-beta 1) has been implicated in the pathogenesis of fibrotic diseases. TGF-beta 1 plays a crucial role in the accumulation of extracellular matrix (ECM) in human and experimental glomerular diseases. However, it remains unclear whether inhibition of TGF-beta 1 overproduction would suppress TGF-beta 1-induced ECM accumulation. To inhibit the overproduction of TGF-beta 1 in experimental glomerulonephritis induced by anti-Thy 1.1 antibody, we introduced antisense oligodeoxynucleotides (ODN) for TGF-beta 1 into the nephritic kidney by the HVJ-liposome-mediated gene transfer method. Sense, scrambled or reverse ODN were also introduced as controls. Transfected ODN accumulated mainly in the nuclei of mesangial cells in the glomeruli of transfected kidneys. In the antisense ODN-transfected rats, a marked decrease in expression of TGF-beta 1 mRNA was confirmed by Northern analysis. Consequently, the expression of TGF-beta 1 protein in the glomerulus was markedly reduced in the antisense ODN-transfected kidney with a comparable effect in preventing glomerular ECM expansion in experimental glomerulonephritis. In contrast, sense, scrambled and reverse ODNs failed to suppress TGF-beta 1 expression and ECM accumulation. Thus, these results suggested that inhibition of TGF-beta 1 overproduction could suppress progression to glomerulosclerosis.