AIM: To investigate the significance of urinary tissue factor (uTF) concentrations in patients with glomerulonephritis. METHODS: Urine samples were collected from normal subjects (n = 57), patients with uncomplicated renal stones (n = 30), and patients with glomerulonephritis (n = 150). Samples were then centrifuged and the pellets solubilised in n-octyl-beta-glucopyranoside. uTF concentrations were determined using a one stage kinetic chromogenic assay. RESULTS: The uTF concentration was higher in patients with glomerulonephritis than in normal controls (p < 0.01) or in patients with renal stones (p < 0.05). uTF activity correlated with the protein creatinine index (PCI, r = 0.41, p < 0.001) and seven patients with glomerulonephritis and a PCI < or = 0.1 g/mmol had raised uTF. Glomerulonephritis patients were subdivided into two groups depending on the PCI: < 0.2 g/mmol creatinine (mild to moderate proteinuria, group I) and > or = 0.2 g/mmol creatinine (heavy proteinuria, group II). In group I, uTF concentrations were higher in patients with either immune complex (IC) glomerulonephritis (p < 0.01) or non-IC (p < 0.05) glomerulonephritis than in normal controls. In group II, the IC glomerulonephritis group had higher uTF concentrations than normal controls (p < 0.001) or patients with renal stones (p < 0.01); and non-IC glomerulonephritis patients had higher uTF than normal controls (p < 0.01). When the glomerulonephritis groups were divided into broad WHO subtypes, the significance level varied with the type of glomerulonephritis. CONCLUSIONS: uTF is increased in patients with glomerulonephritis, and its concentration may reflect the aetiopathogenesis of glomerulonephritis.