Neutrophils and platelets are frequently present in glomeruli in immune glomerulonephritis (GN). No role for the platelet in acute neutrophil-mediated renal injury has been defined. We investigated a neutrophil-mediated model of subendothelial immune complex GN in the rat. Rats were platelet-depleted (mean platelet less than 10,000/microliter) with goat anti-platelet IgG before induction of GN by the renal artery perfusion of concanavalin A followed by anti-concanavalin A IgG. Platelet-depletion resulted in a significant reduction in albuminuria (7 +/- 2 vs. 55 +/- 10 mg/24 h) and fractional albumin excretion (0.045 +/- 0.01 vs. 0.410 +/- 0.09) compared with controls. The decrease in albuminuria was not due to differences in blood or glomerular neutrophil counts, complement, renal function, or glomerular antibody binding. Platelet-depleted rats had equivalent subendothelial deposits and glomerular endothelial cell injury but had minimal platelet infiltrates and fibrin deposition compared with controls. These studies demonstrate a role for platelets in mediating acute neutrophil-induced glomerular injury and proteinuria in this model of GN.