In order to develop a model in mouse similar to anti- Thy-1 nephritis in the rat, we prepared sheep antiserum against SV40-transformed mouse mesangial (MES 13) cells. In vivo, the anti-mouse mesangial cell serum-treated mice showed severe azotemia that peaked at day 6 and proteinuria that peaked at day 8, in a dose-dependent fashion. Light microscopy and electron microscopy showed duplication of glomerular basement membranes, mesangiolysis, subendothelial and mesangial electron-dense deposits, and foot process effacement. Intraglomerular tuft cell number was significantly reduced at day 4 and there were increased numbers of apoptotic cells at days 2 and 4. SCID mice and mice lacking C3 manifested similar responses to anti-mouse mesangial cell serum, suggesting that T cells, B cells and complement are not required for glomerular injury in this model. In vitro, anti-mouse mesangial cell serum treated mesangial cells showed greater release of lactate dehydrogenase, decreased cell survival, and increased apoptotic cell death. Anti-mouse mesangial cell serum induces glomerulopathy characterized by mesangiolysis and mesangial cell apoptosis, and followed by cellular proliferation.