A monoclonal antibody IgG, has been raised against ecto-5'-nucleotidase purified from rat kidney homogenate. The specificity of the antibody was verified by immunoprecipitation. The distribution of the corresponding antigen in the rat kidney was studied by immunocytochemistry (FITC and PAP technique) in 1 micron thick cryostat sections. The antibody reacted with the brush border of proximal tubules, the apical cell membrane and the apical cytoplasm of intercalated cells in connecting tubules and collecting ducts and with interstitial cells of the cortex. Among the interstitial cells exclusively stellate shaped fibroblasts were reactive whereas rounded interstitial cells (type II interstitial cells) as well as pericytes and endothelial cells of peritubular capillaries were unreactive. Compared to the staining intensity of the fibroblasts in the cortical labyrinth the reactivity of the fibroblasts in the medullary rays of the cortex was weak or absent. Interstitial cells of the entire medulla were unreactive. Concerning the fibroblasts in the periarterial connective tissue, those surrounding the larger arteries (arcuate arteries, cortical radial arteries) were negative, those alongside afferent and efferent arterioles were positive. Endothelia of lymphatic capillaries travelling within the periarterial connective tissue were also positive. All components of the juxtaglomerular apparatus were negative. The findings are consistent with an interstitial production of adenosine, available extracellularly and thus being able to reach the major target sites of adenosine, the smooth muscles of glomerular arterioles, including the granular cells at the glomerular vascular pole.