The effect of anticoagulation upon renal edema and plasma protein accumulation in acute ischemic renal damage was studied. Rats were subjected to unilateral renal artery occlusion for 60 min and 15 min of reflow. The kidney weight and the content of 125-I-fibrinogen and 131-I-albumin, injected 24 h priorly, were measured and the renal morphology studied. Groups of rats were pretreated with a heparin analogue with low anticoagulant effect, standard heparin, warfarin or saline. A marked increase in fibrinogen and albumin content and of the weight of the damaged kidney was noted. Heparin and warfarin both significantly attenuated these changes, whereas the heparin analogue did not. Microscopically, fibrin-positive material was seen in the peritubular capillaries, vasa recta and in the tubules of rats pretreated with saline or the heparin analogue, but not in rats pretreated with heparin or warfarin. The results support the hypothesis that fibrin deposition in the kidney is of importance for the development of renal edema in this model of ischemic renal damage.