Mammalian peptide transporters (PEPT1 and PEPT2) play a pivotal role in the absorption of small peptides from the intestine and kidney, respectively, and in the disposition and targeting of peptide or mimetic drugs. However, there are few reports on the molecular basis of their regulation, especially in the young. The aim of this study was to determine the developmental expression of intestinal and renal oligopeptide transporters in rats from embryonic to adult ages. Intestinal segments were collected (i.e. duodenum, jejunum, ileum, and colon) along with whole kidney, and their mRNA and protein levels were measured. Expression levels of PEPT1 were maximal 3-5 d after birth in the duodenum, jejunum, and ileum, and then declined rapidly. Expression was increased transiently at d 24, most notably in the ileum. Adult protein levels were approximately 70% of that observed on d 3-5. Significant PEPT1 expression was observed in colon during the first week of life, but levels were undetectable shortly thereafter through adulthood. PEPT1 and PEPT2 expression is less regulated in rat kidney and more pronounced in older animals. Peptide transporters were also present as early as d 20 of fetal life for all tissues tested. These results are unique in providing the developmental expression of peptide transporter mRNA and protein in distinct regions of the small intestine, colon, and kidney in rat. Our findings suggest that intestinal expression of PEPT1 is induced postpartum, possibly by suckling, and again at the time of weaning, and that the colon may participate in peptide transport early in life.