Our previous study clarified that the apical regions of both the follicle-associated epithelium (FAE) of Peyer's patches and the intestinal villi are the only adhesion sites of indigenous bacteria in rat jejuno-ileum. To survey the ligands against bacterial lectins, sugar expression patterns on epithelial cells were lectin-histochemically investigated using 21 lectins in the jejuno-ileal Peyer's patches of rats. As a result, (D-glcNAc)(2-4), detected by Solanum tuberosum (STL) and by Lycopersicon esculentum (LEL), and beta-D-gal(1-3)-D-galNAc detected by Peanut agglutinin (PNA), were strongly expressed on the brush borders of the apical regions of the FAE and the intestinal villi. On the other hand, neither sugar was expressed on the brush borders of the basal regions of both FAE and intestinal villi. The positive intensities for the lectins correlated with the progression of epithelial apoptosis in the FAE and in the intestinal villi. Moreover, the double staining with lectin histochemical method and the in situ nick end-labeling method could simultaneously detect the strong expression of both sugars and nuclear DNA fragmentation in epithelial cells at the late apoptotic stage. Other sugar expression patterns in the intestinal villi were similar with those in the FAE. There were no lectins specific for M cells in the FAE. From these findings, the possible sugars of ligands against some indigenous bacterial lectins, expressing specially on the apoptotic epithelial cells, might be narrowed down in rat jejuno-ileum.