By using biotin-labeled proteoglycan core protein and an avidin-enzyme system, hyaluronic acid (HA) was visualized in rat kidney. In the normal kidney, HA was localized in the extracellular space of the inner medulla and increased markedly towards the papillary tip. No staining for HA was seen in the interstitial tissue of the cortex or the outer medulla. During the development of rejection of allogeneic renal grafts, a progressive increase in accumulated HA was seen in the interstitial tissue of the cortex and outer medulla. The extractable amounts of HA increased, on average, 40 times in the cortex and outer medulla; no increase was measured in the inner medulla and papilla. The relative water content of the cortex and outer medulla also increased progressively and correlated with the HA accumulation. The extractable amounts of HA in syngeneic grafts increased by day 2 and then leveled off, indicating that surgical trauma may induce some transient HA accumulation after transplantation. Interstitial accumulation of HA, a glycosaminoglycan with unique water-binding qualities, would presumably influence water transport and osmotic activity and should thereby be implicated in the normal papillary function, but also in the development of the interstitial edema of the cortex and outer medulla during rejection of renal grafts.