The extracellular calcium (Ca2+o)-sensing receptor (CaR) plays vital roles in Ca2+o homeostasis, but no data are available on its expression in small and large intestine. Polymerase chain reaction products amplified from reverse-transcribed duodenal RNA using CaR-specific primers showed > 99% homology with the rat kidney CaR. Northern analysis with a CaR-specific cRNA probe demonstrated 4.1- and 7.5-kb transcripts in all intestinal segments. Immunohistochemistry with CaR-specific antisera showed clear basal staining of epithelial cells of small intestinal villi and crypts and modest apical staining of the former, whereas there was both basal and apical staining of colonic crypt epithelial cells. In situ hybridization and immunohistochemistry also demonstrated CaR expression in Auerbach's myenteric plexus of small and large intestines and in the submucosa in the region of Meissner's plexus. Our results reveal CaR expression in several cell types of small and large intestine, in which it may modulate absorptive and/or secretomotor functions.