Expression of epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) was studied immunohistochemically in rat gastric mucosa during healing of acetic acid-induced ulcers. In normal control gastric oxyntic mucosa, EGFR was expressed in proliferative zone cells and in some parietal cells. In mucosa of the ulcer margin, at 3, 7, and 16 days after ulcer induction, there was a 75-fold increase (over controls) in the number of cells expressing EGFR. Seventy percent of ulcers healed by the 16th day, and all were healed by the 25th day. The mucosal scar that replaced the ulcer was composed of dilated glands lined with poorly or aberrantly differentiated cells showing persistence of increased EGFR expression. An increased EGFR expression indicates an important role of EGF in ulcer healing and scar formation.