Background/Aims: Renal tubules undergo oxidative injury in various nephropathies. It is unknown whether tubular cells possess mechanisms to attenuate this form of injury. Heme oxygenase-1 (HO-1), the rate-limiting enzyme in heme catabolism, may provide such a mechanism by reducing levels of free heme, a prooxidant molecule, and by limiting activity of heme-containing prooxidant enzymes. Determination of the distribution of HO-1 in the nephron may identify those segments where HO-1 can afford protection against oxidative injury. Methods: Rats were injected subcutaneously with two different inducers of HO-1: Stannous chloride and cobalt protoporphyrin. At completion of injections, frozen sections of kidneys were stained for HO-1 using a biotin-conjugated monoclonal anti-HO-1 antibody. To identify the origin of tubules staining positive for HO-1, Tetragonolobus purpureas (TP)-derived lectin and Arachnis hypogaea (AH)-derived lectin were applied to sequential sections of the kidney cortex. Results: In rats injected with either HO-1 inducer, HO-1 was immunolocalized in tubules but not in glomeruli. Staining of sequential sections with TP-derived lectin, which binds mainly to proximal tubular cells, was negative in the tubules that stained positive for HO-1. Staining of sequential sections with AH-derived lectin, which binds mainly to distal and collecting tubular cells, was positive in those tubules that were also positive for HO-1. Conclusion: In kidneys of rats injected with inducers of HO-1, distal and collecting tubular cells were identified as the main segments of the nephron that express HO-1. We suggest that the distal nephron, by expressing HO-1, may be less vulnerable to oxidative injury.