The distribution of type VI collagen was investigated immunohistochemically in the developing human kidney from 15 to 32 weeks gestational age and it was compared with that observed in the normal infantile and adult human kidney. In fetal kidney, type VI collagen was widely distributed as a fibrillar network in the subcapsularly undifferentiated mesenchyme and intertubular interstitium, and as a basement membrane-like structure around the ureteral bud branches, tubules, and collecting ducts. During nephrogenesis, type VI collagen disappeared from the induced mesenchyme close to the tips of ureteral branches, while it formed a distinct basement membrane-like structure around the early stages of nephron differentiation (comma-shaped and S-shaped bodies) and later along Bowman's capsule of capillary loop and maturing glomeruli A strong immureactivity for type VI collagen was also found in the glomerular basement membrane and mesangial areas of capillary loop and maturing glomeruli. In infantile kidney, type VI collagen showed a distribution pattern similar to that observed during the fetal period. In adult human kidney, glomerular basement membrane showed a weak positivity for type VI collagen and the basement membrane-like staining around Bowman's capsule, tubules, and collecting ducts was less evident than in fetal and infantile kidney. Our immunohistochemical findings suggest that type VI collagen is a normal component of the glomerular and extraglomerular extracellular matrix of developing human kidney and that it undergoes changes in the expression during maturation.