It has been demonstrated that the organic damages of animals can be caused by exposure to lanthanide oxides or compounds. However, the molecular mechanism of CeCl3-induced kidney injury remains unclear. In this study, the mechanism of nephric damage in mice induced by an intragastric administration of CeCl3 was investigated. The results showed that Ce3+ was accumulated in the kidney, which in turn led to oxidative stress, severe nephric inflammation, and dysfunction in mice. Furthermore, CeCl3 activated nucleic factor κB, which in turn increased the expression levels of tumor necrosis factor α, macrophage migration inhibitory factor, interleukin-2, interleukin-4, interleukin-6, interleukin-8, interleukin-10, interleukin-18, interleukin-1β, cross-reaction protein, transforming growth factor-β, interferon-γ, and CYP1A1, while suppressed heat shock protein 70 expression. These findings implied that Ce3+-induced kidney injury of mice might be associated with oxidative stress, alteration of inflammatory cytokine expression, and reduction of detoxification of CeCl3. © 2013 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Environ Toxicol 29: 1420–1427, 2014.