Tumor necrosis factor-alfa (TNF-alpha) has been established as an important mediator in renal ischemia-reperfusion (I/R) injury. Leptin, a product of the ob gene, has been known to exhibit cytoprotective effects on renal tissue, but its effect on renal tissue TNF-alpha level after renal I/R injury in rats remains unknown. The purpose of the study was to evaluate the effects of leptin on renal tissue TNF-alpha, malondialdehyde (MDA), protein carbonyls (PCs) and total sulfydryl group (SH) levels, and plasma nitrite levels after renal I/R injury in rats. The animals were divided into three groups: control, I/R and I/R+leptin. Rats were subjected to renal ischemia by clamping the left pedicle for 45 min, and then reperfused for 1 h. The I/R+leptin group was pretreated intraperitoneally with leptin (10 mug/kg) 30 min before the induction of ischemia. Our results indicate that MDA, TNF-alpha levels, and PCs were significantly higher in the I/R group than those in the control group (p < 0.05). The administration of leptin decreased these parameters (p < 0.05) significantly. The SH level was observed to significantly decrease after I/R injury when compared to the control group (p < 0.05). Leptin treatment significantly increased tissue SH and plasma nitrite levels when compared to the I/R group (p < 0.05). Plasma nitrite levels did not change significantly in I/R when compared to the control. These results suggest that leptin could exert a protective effect on I/R induced renal damage by decreasing TNF-alpha levels and increasing nitrite level.