To examine the effect of T lymphocyte deficiency on the course of immune complex nephritis, we studied renal function and structure in Swissalbino nude and non-nude mice following injection of heterologous protein. Four groups of 22 mice each (two nude and two non-nude) received either apoferritin 2 mg or saline daily for 10 weeks. Nude mice were maintained in a gnotobiotic environment. Non-nude mice receiving apoferritin developed proteinuria and had increased cellularity within glomeruli compared to either nude mice receiving apoferritin or to control groups (p < 0.05). Of 22 non-nude mice receiving apoferritin, 16 had glomerular immune deposits by electron and immunofluorescent microscopy while 9 of 22 counterpart nude mice receiving apoferritin had such deposits. Non-nude mice more commonly showed membraneous deposits. Nude and non-nude mice receiving saline had no glomerular deposits. These preliminary data suggest that T lymphocytes may play a significant role in the development of immune complex nephritis.