We studied indomethacin as a probe of anion transport across the isolated perfused proximal straight tubule of the rabbit and discovered that a substantial component of transport may occur by anion exchange at the basolateral membrane. Various perturbations involving direct or indirect dissipation of the cellular sodium gradient (ouabain, sodium- or potassium-free solutions, cooling to 18 degrees C) resulted in only a 50% inhibition of indomethacin transport, which raised the question of a co-existent alternative pathway for secretion. Similarly, the anion exchange inhibitor, 4,4'-diisothiocyanostilbene (DIDS), diminished indomethacin secretion by only 50%. Cooling followed by DIDS or the reverse sequence resulted in additive inhibition such that the combination abolished active secretion of indomethacin. We conclude that active secretion of indomethacin by the proximal straight tubule appears to be in part sodium gradient dependent; the remainder may be driven by an anion exchanger on the basolateral membrane.