Detailed mapping of glucose and lactate metabolism along the radius of the hepatic lobule was performed in situ in rat livers perfused with 1.5 mM lactate before and during the addition of 5 mM fructose. The majority of fructose uptake occurred in the periportal region; 45% of fructose taken up in the periportal half of the lobular volume being converted into glucose. Periportal lactate uptake was markedly decreased by addition of fructose. Basal perivenous lactate output, which was derived from glucose synthesized periportally, was increased in the presence of fructose. During fructose infusion there was a small decrease in cell pH periportally, but acidification of up to 0.5 pH units perivenously. The evidence suggests that in situ the apparent direct conversion of fructose into lactate represents, to a substantial extent, the result of periportal conversion of fructose into glucose and the subsequent uptake and glycolysis to lactate in the perivenous zone of some of that glucose. 31P NMR spectroscopy showed that the cellular concentration of phosphomonoesters changes very little periportally during fructose infusion, but there was an approximate twofold increase perivenously, presumably due to the accumulation of fructose 1-phosphate. It may be inferred that fructokinase activity is expressed throughout the hepatic lobule.