Regional variations in intraepithelial lymphocytes (IELs) in the small intestine were examined in BALB/c +/+, nu/+, and nu/nu mice. The small intestine was obtained from 11- to 12-week-old mice and divided equally into three (proximal, middle, and distal) parts. The IELs were isolated from each part of the intestine, and the total numbers of IELs in nu/+ and nu/nu mice were about a fifth of those in +/+ mice. Regional variations in the distribution of the IEL alphabeta, but not the gammadelta T-cell subset were found by use of flow cytometry in +/+ and nu/+ mice. On the other hand, such differences were not found in nu/nu mice, suggesting that thymus-independent development of T cells is not different among regions. Different local expansion of thymus-dependent alphabeta T cells may cause the regional variations seen in the distribution of alphabeta T cell IELs in +/+ and nu/+ mice.