The capacity of the malate-aspartate shuttle was evaluated in periportal (PP-H) and perivenous subfraction of rat hepatocytes (PV-H). The rate of glutamine production from alanine was 34-fold higher in PV-H than in PP-H. Statistically significant differences between PP-H and PV-H were found for the activities of lactate dehydrogenase and pyruvate kinase but not for the activities of NAD(+)-malate dehydrogenase, aspartate aminotransferase, and mitochondrial alanine aminotransferase. The rate of glucose production from sorbitol and the rate of ethanol utilization were higher in PP-H than in PV-H. In the presence of phenazine methosulfate (PMS), the increments in these rates were significantly greater in PV-H than in PP-H. The capacity of malate-aspartate shuttle in the presence of alanine was significantly higher in PP-H than in PV-H but in the presence of asparagine was similar in PP-H and PV-H. The results suggest that the capacity of malate-aspartate shuttle distributes heterogeneously along liver lobules with the dominance in periportal zone and that the difference of the capacity may result from the difference in the transport of aspartate across the mitochondrial membrane.