Previous studies from our laboratory have provided evidence that the rat epididymis utilizes the Na(+)/H(+) exchanger to transport acid and base. The present study was undertaken to use immunohistochemistry for investigating the localization (apical versus basolateral) and distribution of NHE1 and NHE2 proteins along intact rat epididymis. Both proteins were found to be exclusively localized within the epithelium. Immunoreactivity for NHE1 was detected on the basolateral surface, whereas NHE2 immunoreactivity was detected on the apical side of the epithelium. Interestingly, NHE1 was found along the entire length of the epididymal tubule whereas NHE2 was absent in the initial segment but present in the caput, corpus, and cauda regions. These results, when interpreted along with those of previous functional studies, may suggest that the apical NHE2 is involved in Na(+) reabsorption and the basolateral NHE1 in HCO(3)(-) secretion in the rat epididymis.