Activity of myofibrillar adenosinetriphosphatase was demonstrated histochemically at a fine structural level in isolated, unfixed or hydroxyadipaldehyde-fixed cardiac myofibrils in the rat, using a lead precipitation technique and either Ca++ or Mg++ as activating ion. Activity in relaxed myofibrils was found in the A band, but not the H, I, or Z bands. Deposits of final product frequently exhibited an axial periodicity of near 365 A, and bore a close relationship to filaments within the A band. Several patterns of distribution occurred in contracted myofibrils. In myofibrils which had shortened to the point of disappearance of the I band, final product was distributed throughout the sarcomere, except for the unreactive Z band. A second type of distribution occurred in strongly contracted fibers in which there was intensification of activity in the center of the sarcomere. These findings are discussed in the light of the recent morphological evidence and it is suggested that the distribution of final product is consistent with localization of enzyme activity to the cross-bridges between the thick and thin filaments.

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