The intermediate filament protein nestin has been widely used as a marker for proliferating neural progenitor cells in the nervous system. The mammalian olfactory neuroepithelium is a region of the nervous system that robustly supports ongoing neurogenesis, yet where nestin has not been reported to mark proliferating progenitors. Using immunohistochemistry, we examined nestin expression in the mature olfactory neuroepithelium and found it to be tightly restricted to the basal compartment where the olfactory neuronal progenitor cell population resides. The pattern of nestin immunoreactivity was consistent with expression by the endfeet and inferior processes of sustentacular cells rather than basal cells. Using a bank of defined antibody markers, we confirmed nestin's pattern of distribution to be different from that of cytokeratin, vimentin, GBC-1, GAP43, and carnosine. It was highly similar to the pattern of SUS-4 immunoreactivity in the basal region of the neuroepithelium. Following surgical bulbectomy, nestin expression was up-regulated and became evident in the cell bodies of sustentacular cells situated more apically in the neuroepithelium. We have shown nestin to be present in the basal region of the adult olfactory neuroepithelium in the zone that supports ongoing neurogenesis in the adult, but its expression is restricted to the inferior parts of sustentacular cells rather than the neuronal progenitor cells. Nestin may play a potential role in the migration of recently proliferated olfactory neurons on the scaffolding of sustentacular cells in a manner analogous to its proposed role in radial glia during embryonic development of the central nervous system. J. Comp. Neurol. 437:186–195, 2001. © 2001 Wiley-Liss, Inc.