The patterns of expression of the human-tumor-associated antigens, CO17-1A, GA73-3, BR55-2, GICA19-9, CA50 and carcino-embryonic antigen (CEA) were studied in the normal colonic mucosa (the last three also in the serum) of Sprague-Dawley rats. Four immunohistochemically different segments were identified: caecum, ascending colon, transverse colon and descending colon. The immunohistochemical reactions of the cells at the lower part of the crypt were essential for the distinction of the four segments. In the caecum, the MAbs 17-1A, 73-3 and 19-9 stained the glycocalyx of the cells of the lower part of the crypts and the Golgi apparatus of the intercalated cells (IC). MAb55-2 stained very weakly the goblet-like cells (GLC) of the lower part of the crypt of transverse colon, in addition to a nearly complete lack of reaction in the upper part of the crypts. In the ascending colon, the lower part of the crypts showed a characteristic diffuse staining of the intercalated cells with MAb55-2. The perinuclear and mucosal staining observed in the GLC of the transverse colon with MAbs 17-1A, 73-3 and 19-9 as against the supranuclear and Golgi zone staining observed in the GLC/goblet cells (GC)/columnar cells (CC) of the lower part of crypts of the descending colon with the same MAbs, distinguished the former segment from the latter. The IC demonstrated by immunohistochemistry in the lower parts of the crypts of caecum and ascending colon appear to correspond to the replicating cells of the colonic crypts.