Potassium chloride ion cotransporters (KCCs) are part of a family of transporters classically described as being involved in cell volume regulation. Recently, KCC2 has been shown to have a role in the development of the inhibitory actions of amine transmitters, whereas KCC3 also plays a fundamental role in the development and function of the central and peripheral nervous system. We have re-assessed the expression of each of the known KCCs in the rat forebrain using RT-PCR and in situ hybridisation histochemistry. As well as confirming the widespread expression of KCC1 and KCC2 throughout the brain, we now show a more restricted expression of KCC3a in the hippocampus, choroid plexus and piriform cortex, as well as KCC4 in the choroid plexus and the suprachiasmatic nucleus of the hypothalamus. The expression of KCC4 in the latter and KCC2 in the lateral hypothalamic and ventromedial hypothalamic nuclei suggests that these cotransporters may have selective roles in neuroendocrine or homeostatic functions. Finally, we demonstrate the existence of a truncated splice variation of KCC3a in the rat that appears to be expressed exclusively in neurons (as is KCC2), whereas the native form of KCC3a and KCC4 appears to be expressed in glial cells.