Radiation injury to the renal parenchyma is an unusual cause of renal insufficiency. Light, immunofluorescence and electron microscopic studies were performed on the renal tissue from two patients in whom renal insufficiency developed within a year after they received abdominal irradiation. The glomerular lesion in both patients was similar. Mild endothelial cell swelling and basement membrane splitting were noted consistently on light microscopy. The electron microscopic examination revealed marked subendothelial expansion with electron-lucent material associated with deposition of basement membrane-like material adjacent to the endothelial cells. In some capillary loops, the endothelial cell lining appeared to be completely lost. The pathogenesis of radiation-induced renal injury is still uncertain. It is speculated that local activation of the coagulation system with consequent thrombosis of the renal microvasculature may be extremely important.