Glutamine transport into rat brain synaptic and non-synaptic mitochondria has been monitored by the uptake of [3H]glutamine and by mitochondrial swelling. The concentration of glutamate in brain mitochondria is calculated to be high, 5-10 mM, indicating that phosphate activated glutaminase localized inside the mitochondria is likely to be dormant and the glutamine taken up not hydrolyzed. The uptake of [3H]glutamine is largely stereospecific. It is inhibited by glutamate, asparagine, aspartate, 2-oxoglutarate and succinate. Glutamate inhibits this uptake into synaptic and non-synaptic mitochondria by 95 and 85%, respectively. The inhibition by glutamate, asparagine, aspartate and succinate can be explained by binding to an inhibitory site whereas the inhibition by 2-oxoglutarate is counteracted by aminooxyacetic acid, which indicates that it is dependent on transamination. The glutamine-induced swelling, a measure of a very low affinity uptake, is inhibited by glutamate at a glutamine concentration of 100 mM, but this inhibition is abolished when the glutamine concentration is raised to 200 mM. This suggests that the very low affinity glutamine uptake is competitively inhibited by glutamate. Furthermore, glutamine-induced swelling is inhibited by 2-oxoglutarate, succinate and malate, similarly to that of the [3H]glutamine uptake. The properties of the mitochondrial glutamine transport are not identical with those of a recently purified renal glutamine carrier.