Absorption mechanism and absorption site of a prodrug of L-DOPA, L-3-(3-hydroxy-4-pivaloyloxyphenyl)alanine (NB-355, 1) was investigated using rats. Prodrug 1 (0.5 mM) was taken up by intestinal tissue segments time-dependently in vitro at pH 6.0. However, the rate of uptake was less than that of L-dopa. Inhibitors of the amino acid active transport system (L-Phe, dinitrophenol, ouabain) had no effect on the uptake of prodrug 1. In the intestinal tissue segments, prodrug 1 was extensively hydrolyzed by diisopropylfluorophosphate-sensitive esterase(s). To characterize the absorption site, gastrointestinal tracts were ligated to make acute loops in situ and prodrug 1 or L-dopa was injected into the loops. L-dopa disappeared rapidly from the lumen of the jejunum. In contrast, prodrug 1 disappeared rapidly from the ileum rather than the duodenum or jejunum. From these results, it was suggested that prodrug 1 was slowly absorbed primarily from the lower small intestine.