In order to evaluate the progression of renal disease, Munich-Wistar rats were submitted to 5/6 nephrectomy and given whole-body x- or γ-irradiation with or without remnant kidney protection or were submitted only to remnant kidney irradiation. All groups received a single 6-Gy dose immediately after surgery. Whole-kidney function, glomerular hemodynamics, 24-hour proteinuria and histopathology were assessed 60 days after surgery and irradiation. The irradiated nephrectomized animals presented whole-kidney function parameters comparable to those of normal rats. In addition, they were less hypertensive and had higher hematocrit. They showed glomerular hyperfiltration and hypertension even greater than their respective nephrectomized controls. However, the interrelations among the glomerular filtration determinants were somewhat different in irradiated animals. Their 24-hour proteinuria was significantly lower and the sclerosis index and tubulointerstitial injury score were markedly smaller. Among irradiated animals, the worst sclerosis index was observed in those with a shielded remnant kidney and the best in those without protection of the remnant kidney. This led us to speculate about a possible influence of resident mesangial cells on the early events following renal mass ablation and on the maintenance of subsequent physiopathologic changes. Therefore, radiation undoubtedly provoked a beneficial change in the course of renal disease when the renal mass ablation model was employed. Many factors could have contributed to this favorable feature including lower levels of systemic arterial pressure, less increment in ΔP, diminished proteinuria, and maintenance of tubulointerstitial space integrity. Our data also suggest that development of glomerulosclerosis seems to be determined by events occurring immediately after injury.