There is limited knowledge about the distribution of the different G-protein-coupled receptor kinases (GRKs) in the rat brain, especially for the recently cloned isoforms GRK5 and GRK6. In this work an overview will be given of the mRNA expression patterns of four G-protein-coupled receptor kinases, GRK2 (betaARK1), GRK3 (betaARK2), GRK5 and GRK6 in the rat brain. As now shown by us and recently by others GRK2 and GRK3 are widely distributed in rat brain with nearly the same expression pattern. But GRK3, in general, appeared to be weaker expressed than GRK2 in most brain areas. Exceptions were the islands of Calleja, the compact part of the substantia nigra and the locus coeruleus. GRK3 mRNA was very low expressed or absent in the striatum and in some hypothalamic and thalamic nuclei. The expression pattern of GRK6 was also similar to GRK2. In the caudate putamen GRK6 yielded the strongest hybridization signal of all GRK types. GRK5 took a special position. The message for this form was not expressed ubiquitously in the brain but was mainly localized in limbic brain regions with a very prominent expression in the lateral septal area. GRK5 may therefore be involved in reward and addiction. Accordingly, a higher expression level of GRK5 mRNA was found in the lateral septum of cocaine-sensitized rats as compared to controls.