Expression of the transcription factor forkhead box P3 (FOXP3) in transplant biopsies is of interest due to its role in a population of regulatory T cells. We analyzed FOXP3 mRNA expression using RT-PCR in 83 renal transplant biopsies for cause in relationship to histopathology, clinical findings and expression of pathogenesis-based transcript sets assessed by microarrays. FOXP3 mRNA was higher in rejection (T-cell and antibody-mediated) than nonrejection. Surprisingly, some native kidney controls also expressed FOXP3 mRNA. Immunostaining for FOXP3 was consistent with RT-PCR, showing interstitial FOXP3+ lymphocytes, even in some native kidney controls. FOXP3 expression correlated with interstitial inflammation, tubulitis, interstitial fibrosis, tubular atrophy, C4d positivity, longer time posttransplant, younger donors, class II panel reactive antibody >20% and transcript sets reflecting inflammation and injury, but unlike these features was time dependent. In multivariate analysis, higher FOXP3 mRNA was independently associated with rejection, T-cell-associated transcripts, younger donor age and longer time posttransplant. FOXP3 expression did not correlate with favorable graft outcomes, even when the analysis was restricted to biopsies with rejection. Thus FOXP3 mRNA expression is a time-dependent feature of inflammatory infiltrates in renal tissue. We hypothesize that time-dependent entry of FOXP3-positive cells represents a mechanism for stabilizing inflammatory sites.