Maternal IgG is transferred to the suckling mouse and rat through a major histocompatibility complex (MHC) class I-related Fc receptor (FcRn) on the brush border of the proximal small intestine. We have previously described a site on the epithelial surface of the human fetal intestine with IgG binding characteristics similar to FcRn. We report here the identification by reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction amplification and sequencing of the human orthologue of rat and mouse FcRn in tissue obtained from human fetal and adult intestine. FcRn protein was detected in adult human intestine by western blot. Immunohistochemical studies of sections of human intestine show that the FcRn is localized mostly to the epithelial cells, where it is in the apical region. These data suggest that the binding of IgG previously seen in the fetal intestine is due to the presence of FcRn. Potential roles for this MHC class I-like Fc receptor in the human intestine include the transfer of passive immunity, induction of oral tolerance, and immunosurveillance.