This study investigated the relationships between renal allograft interstitial fibrosis, renal function and graft survival. A total of 107 consecutive renal transplant recipients immunosuppressed with cyclosporin were studied. Needle core transplant biopsies were performed before operation and at 1, 6 and 12 months after transplantation. Allograft fibrosis was assessed by histomorphometric analysis of graft interstitial volume fraction. Renal function was measured by isotopic glomerular filtration rate (GFR) measurement at the same time points. Interstitial volume fraction was already high in preperfusion biopsies, significantly increased with time but stabilized at 6 months after transplantation. GFR correlated negatively with interstitial volume fraction at 6 months (P = 0.05). Interstitial volume fraction at 1 month was not a useful predictor of subsequent graft survival but for allografts surviving to 6 months an interstitial volume fraction above 25 per cent predicted significantly poorer survival (P = 0.04). It provides an objective measure of chronic allograft damage and may prove to be a useful surrogate endpoint in the study of therapeutic intervention.