In a light and electron microscopic immunocytochemical study we have examined the distribution of myelin basic protein (MBP), 2',3'-cyclic nucleotide 3'-phosphodiesterase (CNP), and myelin/oligodendroglial glycoprotein (MOG) within CNS myelin sheaths and oligodendrocytes of adult Sprague-Dawley rats. Ultrastructural immunocytochemistry allowed quantitative analysis of antigen density in different myelin and oligodendrocyte zones: MBP was detectable in high density over the whole myelin sheath, but not in regions of loops, somata, or the oligodendrocyte plasma membrane. CNP reactivity was highest at the myelin/axon interface, and found in lower concentration over the outer lamellae of myelin sheaths, at the cytoplasmic face of oligodendrocyte membranes, and throughout the compact myelin. MOG was preferentially detected at the extracellular surface of myelin sheaths and oligodendrocytes and in only low amounts in the lamellae of compacted myelin and the myelin/axon border zone. Our studies, thus, indicate further the presence of different molecular domains in compact myelin, which may be functionally relevant for the integrity and maintenance of the myelin sheath.