Integrins are cell surface receptors known to be important for regeneration in the peripheral nervous system. We have investigated the expression of integrin messenger RNAs in red nucleus neurons of adult rats after axotomy and administration of neurotrophic factors. Using radioactive in situ hybridization, messenger RNA for integrin subunits beta1, alpha3, alpha7 and alphaV could be detected. No change of any alpha subunit could be detected after axotomy. In contrast, a small upregulation of beta1 was detected after lesion. Administration of neurotrophin-3 induced a robust further increase in beta1 messenger RNA levels, whereas brain-derived neurotrophic factor did not. By analogy to the peripheral nervous system, we propose that integrins may be important for a regenerative response in central nervous system neurons.