The aim of the study was to investigate the effects of sildenafil citrate (SC) on renal ischemia reperfusion (I/R) injury in a rat model. Forty eight male Wistar albino rats were randomly assigned into six groups: sham, ischemia, I/R, SC+sham, SC+ischemia and SC+I/R. In the I/R groups, the right kidney was removed and the artery and vein of the left kidney were clamped for 45 min followed by reperfusion for 1 h. In the SC-treated groups, SC dissolved in saline solution was given as a single dose (1 mg/kg) 60 min before the operation. Renal histology was analyzed by scoring the tubular damage and neutrophil infiltration. Tissue myeloperoxidase activity and lipid peroxidation were analyzed. The histological damage and the neutrophil infiltration induced by I/R were significantly less in the SC+I/R group (p = 0.004 and p = 0.003, respectively). Pretreatment with SC significantly diminished the tissue myeloperoxidase activity, indicating the prevention of the neutrophil sequestration into the kidney in the SC+I/R group (p = 0.004); however, it did not result in any changes in lipid peroxidation. Our results in a rat model of ischemia reperfusion indicate that pre-ischemic treatment with sildenafil citrate can significantly attenuate ischemia/reperfusion-induced renal injury by decreasing leukocyte infiltration. (C) 2009 Elsevier GmbH. All rights reserved.