The chemokine monocyte chemoattractant protein (MCP)-1 has been implicated in the monocyte/macrophage infiltration that occurs during tubulointerstitial nephritis (TIN). We investigated the role of MCP-1 in rats with TIN by administering a neutralizing anti-MCP-1 antibody (Ab). We observed significantly reduced macrophage infiltration and delayed neutrophil clearance in the kidneys of TIN model rats treated with the anti-MCP-1 Ab. To exclude the possibility that an observed immune complex could affect the resolution of apoptotic neutrophils via the Fc receptor, TIN model rats were treated with a peptide-based MCP-1 receptor antagonist (RA). The MCP-1 RA had effects similar to those of the anti-MCP-1 Ab. In addition, MCP-1 did not affect macrophage-mediated phagocytosis of neutrophils in vitro. Deposition of the anti-MCP-1 Ab in rat kidneys resulted from its binding to heparan sulfate-immobilized MCP-1, as demonstrated by the detection of MCP-1 in both pull-down and immunoprecipitation assays. We conclude that induction of chemokines, specifically MCP-1, in TIN corresponds with leukocyte infiltration and that the anti-MCP-1 Ab formed an immune complex with heparan sulfate-immobilized MCP-1 in the kidney. Antagonism of MCP-1 in TIN by Ab or RA may alter the pathological process, most likely through delayed removal of apoptotic neutrophils in the inflammatory loci.