Anticoagulation has been reported to ameliorate antiglomerular basement membrane glomerulonephritis (anti-GBM-GN) while its effect on chronic immune complex glomerulonephritis (IC-GN) as studied in the NZB mouse is unclear. Chronic serum sickness IC-GN was induced in rabbits by injecting bovine serum albumin (BSA) daily. Anti-GBM-GN was induced by i.v. injection of a known amount of heterologous anti-GBM antibody. Heparin was administered beginning at two to six weeks after the first BSA injections or before the administration of anti-GBM antibody, on various schedules from 5000 U every 12 hr to 8000 U every 8 hr. With this dosage the partial thromboplastin time remained greater than 1-1/2 to 2-1/2 times the control at the time of the subsequent heparin injection. Heparinized and nonheparinized groups were matched according to duration of disease, maximum anti-BSA concentrations or anti-GBM antibody dosage--and no significant differences were found in proteinuria; severity of the glomerular histologic lesions; or immunofluorescence patterns of immunoglobulin G (IgG), third component of complement (C3), BSA or fibrinogen-related antigen(s) (FRA). Crescent formation was not prevented. This study shows that heparin in the maximum permissible dosage is ineffective in preventing glomerular FRA deposition or altering the progression of experimental IC-GN or anti-GBM-GN in rabbits.