Regulators of G-protein signaling (RGS) proteins are a novel family of GTPase-activating proteins that interact with Galpha subunits of the Gi/o, Gz, Gq and G(12/13) subfamilies to dampen G-protein-coupled receptor (GPCR)-mediated signaling by accelerating intrinsic Galpha-GTPase activity. In the present study, we report on messenger ribonucleic acid (mRNA) localization in rat brain of six RGS genes by in situ hybridization. The distribution patterns of RGS2, RGS13, RGS14 and GAIP (Galpha interacting protein) overlapped in most brain regions examined. Highest regional expression was observed for RGS2 in the cerebral cortical layers, striatum, hippocampal formation, several thalamic and hypothalamic nuclei and hindbrain regions such as the pontine, interpeduncular and dorsal raphe nuclei. Levels of RGS14 mRNA closely paralleled those of RGS2 expression levels throughout most brain regions. RGS13 mRNA was enriched in the hippocampal formation, amygdala, mammillary nuclei as well as the pontine and interpeduncular nuclei. GAIP expression levels were highest in the hippocampal formation with moderate to low levels present in all other regions studied. Of the six RGS genes probed, RGS16 mRNA displayed a discrete localization predominantly in the thalamic midline/intralaminar and principal relay nuclei, and the hypothalamic suprachiasmatic nucleus. RGS1 mRNA signal was not detected in brain. In conclusion, the in situ hybridization studies for RGS2, RGS13, RGS14, RGS16 and GAIP mRNAs extend our knowledge of the distribution of RGS genes expressed in the rat central nervous system, and indicate overlapping RGS-enriched regions that may be indicative of functional diversification in GPCR signaling pathway modulation.