The sites of ischaemic injury within the kidney are reviewed and the diagnostic value of measurements of plasma and urinary enzymes in renal ischaemic injury and in renal homotransplant rejection in experimental animals and man is examined. Gamma-glutamyl transpeptidase (gamma-GT) is an enzyme primarily located in the brush border of the proximal convoluted tubule of the kidney. Its unique localization in the cells most easily damaged by ischaemia and its ease of assay provide the rationale for its use in the measurement and diagnosis of renal ischaemic injury. gamma-GT activity was measured in dogs undergoing varying periods of renal ischaemia and under conditions of local renal hypothermia and was shown to be a sensitive indicator of ischaemic injury. Twenty consecutive patients undergoing renal homotransplantation were studied by daily estimation of their 24-h urinary gamma-GT activity; excellent correlation was obtained between raised levels of this enzyme and the clinical diagnosis of transplant rejection.