The expression of secretory component by epithelial cells overlying intestinal lymphoid aggregates was examined immunocytochemically in rabbits. Intensely labeled epithelial cells were distributed along surfaces of villi surrounding follicles in jejunal and ileal Peyer's patches and along interdomal epithelium in sacculus rotundus and appendix. Secretory component labeling extended from within crypts and appendiceal crevices to the tips of villi and interdomal regions. In contrast, no immunologically detectable secretory component sites were observed in follicle-associated epithelial cells. In crypts and crevices supplying follicles, epithelial cells facing the lamina propria of villi and interdomal epithelium expressed secretory component, but cells flanking the follicle domes lacked secretory component immunostaining, with a clear demarcation between positive and negative zones at the base of the stem cell regions. These findings demonstrate a unique difference in the expression of the receptor for immunoglobulin A antibody between follicle-associated and non-follicle-associated epithelium.