Acute proliferative glomerulonephritis is characterized by glomerular hypercellularity that can be caused by many different etiologies and pathogenetic mechanisms. A balance between cell birth by mitosis and cell death by apoptosis is crucial. In this study, apoptosis and the regenerative activity (Ki67/apoptosis index) were investigated in acute proliferative glomerulonephritis. Thirty-five children with biopsy-proven acute proliferative glomerulonephritis and five controls with MCD were studied retrospectively. According to the clinical outcome, patients were divided into 2 groups: group 1 (n =21) were patients with normal renal functions at follow-up; group 2 (n =8) were patients with end-stage renal failure or those who died. Immunohistochemical staining of proliferating cells (Ki67) was done. In situ end labeling of DNA was used to evaluate apoptosis. Glomerular cell apoptosis was 45% in the patients with acute proliferative glomerulonephritis and 3% in controls ( p < 0.001). Apoptotic cells were identified in the tubulointerstitial compartment with higher and heavier immunostaining in patients than controls (p =0.001). Tubular proliferative index (= tubular proliferation/tubular apoptosis ratio) was significantly higher in group 1 patients than in group 2 patients (2.03 +/- 2% versus 0.32 +/- 0.6%, p =0.002). Tubulointerstitial regenerative ratio (=tubular proliferation/interstitial proliferation ratio) was significantly higher in controls than in patients (3.4 +/- 1.9 versus 1.52 +/- 0.8, p =0.01). In addition, it was significantly increased in group 1 patients when compared with those in group 2 patients (1.89 +/- 0.8 versus 0.73 +/- 0.2, p =0.001). Since 17 patients presented with postinfectious proliferative glomerulonephritis, which is known to exhibit better course, we also evaluated those parameters in patients with postinfectious proliferative glomerulonephritis separately. We found statistically significant differences only in the tubulointerstitial regenerative ratio, which was higher in postinfectious cases when compared with those in other cases [1.60 interquartile range (IQR) 1.54 versus 1.22 IQR 1.26, respectively, p =0.003]. In conclusion, tubular proliferative index and tubulointerstitial regenerative ratio might be useful parameters for predicting final functional outcome in acute proliferative glomerulonephritis. Further studies, however, are still needed to clarify the importance of these histopathological parameters.