To determine the functional specificity of intestinal brush-border pteroylpolyglutamate hydrolase (PPH), we compared the regional location of in vivo hydrolysis of pteroyltriglutamate (PteGlu3) with the location of activity and immunoreactivity of the enzyme in the pig. After in vivo incubations, PteGlu3 hydrolytic products were recovered from intestinal segments in the jejunum but not from the ileum. Brush-border PPH activity in fractionated mucosa was 10-fold greater in the jejunum than in the ileum, whereas the activity of intracellular PPH was increased in the distal ileum. Antibodies to purified brush-border PPH identified a major protein band at 120 kDa and a minor protein band at 195 kDa in solubilized jejunal brush border. Immunohistochemistry identified the enzyme only on the brush-border surface of the jejunum, whereas an immunoblot of solubilized brush-border membranes identified brush-border PPH in the jejunum but not in the ileum. The parallel of the regional location of in vivo hydrolysis of PteGlu3 with the location of brush-border PPH activity and immunoreactivity demonstrates the functional specificity of this enzyme in folate digestion.