Correlations between the densities of ionotropic glutamate, GABA(A), and serotonin binding sites in the hippocampus of seven inbred mouse strains and strain-specific learning capacities in two types of maze were studied. Binding site densities were measured with quantitative receptor autoradiography. Learning capacities were determined in a water maze task as well as in spatial and nonspatial versions of an eight-arm radial maze. The densities of most binding sites differed significantly between the strains in the subfields of Ammon's horn (CA1 and CA3) and the dentate gyrus, except for serotonin binding sites in CA1. By comparing the different strains, significant receptor-behavioral correlations between the densities of the GABA(A) receptors and the activity-dependent behavior in the water maze as well as the spatial learning in the radial maze were found. The densities of D,L-alpha-amino-3-hydroxy-5-methyl-4-isoxalone propionate (AMPA) and kainate receptors correlated positively with learning capacity in the spatial eight-arm radial maze. We conclude that hereditary variations mainly in AMPA, kainate, and GABA(A) receptor densities are involved in behavioral variations in spatial and nonspatial learning tasks.