We investigated the pathophysiological role of a potent macrophage (M(phi)) chemotactic cytokine (chemokine), monocyte chemotactic and activating factor/monocyte chemoattractant protein-1 (MCAF/MCP-1), in an animal model of crescentic glomerulonephritis. Administration of a small dose of nephrotoxic sera induced severe proliferative and necrotizing glomerulonephritis, with crescentic formation in the early phase and glomerulosclerosis in the later phase, in Wistar-Kyoto rats. MCAF/MCP-1 protein was detected immunohistochemically in glomeruli, vascular endothelial cells, and tubular epithelial cells in the early phase of injured kidney tissues but not in normal ones. Anti-MCAF/MCP-1 antibodies decreased the number of M(phi) in glomeruli, and prevented crescentic formation and the fusion of epithelial cell foot process in nephritic rats, thereby decreasing the excreted amounts of protein to normal levels on days 3 and 6. Furthermore, anti-MCAF/MCP-1 antibodies remarkably reduced glomerulosclerosis and improved renal dysfunction as well as proteinuria in the later phase (56 days). These results indicate that MCAF/MCP-1 essentially participates in the impairment of renal functions associated with crescentic glomerulonephritis by recruiting and activating M(phi).