This paper describes the identification of two major components of the lateral elements of synaptonemal complexes of the rat by immunocytochemical techniques. We prepared monoclonal antibodies against synaptonemal complexes (SCs) by immunization of mice with purified SCs. One of these antibodies, II52F10, reacts with a 30 and a 33 kDa polypeptide, which are major components of purified SCs. Using this antibody, we studied the localization of its antigens light microscopically, by means of the indirect immunoperoxidase technique, as well as ultrastructurally, by means of the immunogold labeling technique. The immunolocalization was carried out on whole-mount preparations of lysed spermatocytes. The antibody reacts with paired as well as unpaired segments of zygotene, pachytene and diplotene SCs. In light microscopic preparations, the attachment plaques, particularly those of late pachytene and diplotene SCs, also appear to react strongly. In electron micrographs the lateral elements in paired as well as unpaired segments could be seen to react. No reaction was observed in the attachment plaques; however, in late pachytene and diplotene SCs the swollen terminal segments of the lateral elements did react with the antibody. Thus, we conclude that a 30 and a 33 kDa polypeptide make part of the lateral elements of synaptonemal complexes of the rat.