Ischemic injury to cadaver organs is a major risk factor for development of chronic organ dysfunction. We have recently shown that the B7 costimulatory pathway plays a critical role in early organ dysfunction developing after renal cold ischemia/reperfusion injury. We extended these observations to investigate the role of this pathway in the development and progression of chronic organ dysfunction following such injury. Uninephrectomized rats which underwent cold ischemia/reperfusion injury developed progressive proteinuria as compared to uninephrectomized controls. Animals treated with CTLA4Ig, which blocks B7 costimulation, starting on the day of injury had significantly better long-term survival and developed significantly less proteinuria than control animals treated with control Ig. RT-PCR analysis of kidney tissue showed significant reduction in expression of activation and inflammatory cytokines, chemoattractants, and growth factors, as compared to controls. Delaying administration of CTLA4Ig for one week, but not four weeks, after injury was still effective in ameliorating development of progressive proteinuria. Interestingly, selective blockade of B7-1 by a mutant form of CTLA4Ig had no effect on early or chronic organ dysfunction. These findings indicate the long-term functional and molecular consequences of experimental cold ischemia/reperfusion injury, and suggest that B7-2 is critical in the development of organ dysfunction following ischemic injury, even in the absence of alloantigen.