The aging process in humans and in the rat is associated with an impairment in renal tubular reabsorption of Pi and renal tubular adaptation to a low Pi diet. The purposes of the present study were to determine whether changes in the abundance of type II Na-Pi contransporter (NaPi-2) protein and/or mRNA play a role in the age-related decrease in Na-Pi cotransport activity, and to further determine the cellular mechanisms of impaired adaptation to a low Pi diet. In studies performed in 3- to 4-month-old young adult rats and 32-to 16-month-old aged rats we found that there was an age-related twofold decrease in proximal tubular apical brush border membrane (BBM) Na-Pi cotransport activity, which was associated with similar decreases in BBM NaPi-2 protein abundance and renal cortical NaPi-2 mRNA level. Immunohisto-chemistry showed lower NaPi-2 protein expression in the BBM of proximal tubules of superficial, midcortical, and juxtamedullary nephrons. We also found that in response to chronic (7 days) and/or acute (4 hr) feeding of a low Pi diet there were similar adaptive increases in BBM Na-Pi cotransport activity and BBM NaPi-2 protein abundance in both young and aged rats. However, BBM Na-Pi cotransport activity and BBM NaPi-2 protein abundance were still significantly lower in aged rats, in spite of a significantly lower serum Pi concentration in aged rats. The results indicate that impaired expression of the type II renal Na-Pi cotransporter protein at the level of the apical BBM plays an important role in the age-related impairment in renal tubular reabsorption of Pi and renal tubular adaptation to a low Pi diet.