The gender differences in the age-related changes of glomerular structures were determined in 10- and 30-month-old rats. In adult animals, glomerular volume, urinary space, capillary lumen area and mesangial domains of deep and superficial nephrons were larger in males than in females. Glomerular hypertrophy was evidenced with age in both males and females. This hypertrophy was greater in female (+70%) than in male (+20%) rats. Age-related hypertrophy concerned equally the urinary space and the glomerular tuft. The mesangial domain, however, increased more markedly than glomerular volume (+400%). As a result, the ratio of mesangial domain to glomerular section area was more than doubled between 10 and 30 months. In females, the age-related renal hypertrophy was associated with a constant total capillary lumen area in cortical nephrons. In contrast, the total capillary lumen area of male rats was reduced by 20% in superficial glomeruli and by 36% in deep glomeruli between 10 and 30 months. These morphological changes are in good agreement with the maintained glomerular filtration rate reported in old female rats and the decrease in renal blood flow and filtration rate reported in male rats. They suggest that the aging process does not similarly affect the vascular system of the kidney of male and female rats, although their mean blood pressure was comparable.