There is increasing evidence to suggest that toxic oxygen radicals play an essential role in the pathogenesis of ischemia/reperfusion (I/R) injury in the kidney. This study was designed to investigate the effects of ascorbic acid (AA) in I/R-induced renal injury in rats. Thirty two male Sprague-Dawley rats were divided equally into four groups: group 1 (control; dissection of the right renal pedicle without nephrectomy), group 2 (sham operated; unilateral nephrectomy), group 3 (I/R; unilateral nephrectomy + I/R); and group 4 (AA+I/R; unilateral nephrectomy and I/R treated with ascorbic acid, 250mg kg-1 i.p., for one hour prior to ischemia). On the 15th day following nephrectomy, groups 3 and 4 were subjected to 45 min of renal pedicle occlusion followed by 3 h of reperfusion. At the end of the treatment period, kidney samples were taken for histological examination or determination of the renal malondialdehyde (MDA) and glutathione (GSH) levels. Serum creatinine, blood urea nitrogen (BUN), and lactate dehydrogenase (LDH) concentrations were measured for the evaluation of renal function. I/R caused a significant decrease in GSH level, which was accompanied with a significant increase in MDA level of kidney tissues. Similarly, serum BUN and creatinine levels, as well as LDH, were elevated in the I/R group as compared to the control group. In group four, AA treatment reversed all the changes in these biochemical indices, as well as histopathological alterations normally induced by I/R. The findings imply that reactive oxygen species play a causal role in I/R-induced renal injury, and that AA exerts renoprotective effects, probably by radical scavenging and antioxidant activities.