Xanthopterin (XPT), an unconjugated pteridine compound, affects cell growth and differentiation. When injected into rats, XPT has caused changes that have been interpreted as renal growth and hypertrophy. In the present study, we investigated the effect of intraperitoneal administration of XPT on the renal function in the rat. XPT administration was associated with polyuria and a reversible form of nonoliguric acute renal failure (ARF), with renal function declining maximally after 2 days and returning to normal after 7 days. The polyuria was due, at least in part, to a concentrating defect that was vasopressin resistant. The ability of XPT to induce ARF was modulated by dietary salt intake, being enhanced by a low-sodium diet and prevented by a high sodium intake. Histological examination of the kidneys showed intratubular crystal deposition and acute tubule necrosis, suggesting that XPT induces crystal nephropathy. There was an increase in wet and dry weights of the kidney and an increased DNA/protein ratio, compatible with a hyperplastic response. Because the severity of other crystal nephropathies may be modulated by urine flow rate and pH, we studied the ability of water diuresis or alkaline diuresis to protect against XPT-induced ARF. Both water diuresis and HCO<sub>3</sub> loading blunted the ability of XPT to decrease renal function. The change in renal function induced by XPT in the various groups was paralleled by corresponding changes in the levels of XPT-like substances in the kidney and by the amount of crystal deposition. Thus, XPT injection induces crystal nephropathy, the severity of which can be modulated by dietary salt intake, urine pH, and urine flow rate.