The effect of the calcium blocker S-(+)-methyl 4,7-dihydro-3-isobutyl-6-methyl-4-(3-nitro-phenyl)thieno[2,3-b]pyridine- 5-carboxylate (S-312-d) on ischemic acute renal failure (ARF) was studied in rats. Ischemic ARF was induced by temporary (30-60 min) clamping of the left kidney 2 weeks after contralateral right nephrectomy. Plasma creatinine, creatinine clearance, urinary osmolality and fractional excretion of sodium were used to test the effectiveness of the drug. S-312-d (0.01-0.1 mg/kg b.wt. i.v.) administration before ischemia offered dose-dependent protection against the functional impairment induced by ischemia. This effect was accompanied by an increase in the survival rate of ischemic rats. S-312-d given after ischemia was not effective. The renal cortical edema induced by ischemia was significantly reduced by pretreatment with S-312-d. The increase in renal tissue calcium content observed after ischemia was also suppressed by S-312-d. Comparison with other established calcium blockers indicated S-312-d to be a good candidate for protection against ischemic ARF. These findings indicate that S-312-d may be clinically useful against renal ischemia.