An epithelial intestinal cell line has been established from explants of fetal rat small intestine. After the 9th passage (approx. 25 population doublings) epithelial-like cells acquired the properties of a permanent cell line. The epithelial nature of this cell line, and of clone IRD 98 subsequently isolated, is supported by morphological and ultrastructural criteria, and also by the presence of enzymes characteristic of enterocytes, such as aminopeptidase, alkaline phosphatase, gamma-glutamyl transferase, lactase and maltase. The occurrence of the triglyceride pathway enzyme monoacylglycerol acyltransferase and of apoproteins (Apo A1 and Apo E) can also be demonstrated. Taken together, the results presented here provide evidence that clone IRD 98 is an epithelial cell line, most likely originating from the relatively differentiated cell layer of fetal rat small intestine.