We studied paraffin sections of renal biopsies from 7 patients with crescentic glomerulonephritis (CGN) by in situ hybridisation, to detect sites of interleukin-2 receptor (IL-2R) mRNA expression. Frozen sections from a further patient with CGN were studied by immunohistochemistry with a monoclonal antibody to CD25, to detect IL-2R protein. Positive control sections were taken from biopsies of acute cellular renal transplant rejection and negative controls from biopsies of membranous glomerulonephritis. No autoradiographic signal was detected in negative controls. IL-2R mRNA expression was seen in rejected transplants and in sections from 4 to 7 patients with CGN. Expression was seen in cortical interstitial cells, renal tubular epithelial cells, cells within glomerular crescents and in one glomerulus at the margin of Bowman's capsule. Tubular cell expression of IL-2R protein was confirmed by immunohistochemistry. We have confirmed that IL-2R mRNA expression occurs locally within the kidneys in CGN and have identified expression in tubular epithelial cells. The results suggest that local activation of immunocompetent cells occurs in the kidney and may be of significance in the pathogenesis of CGN.