Tenascin-C (TN-C) is a multimodular glycoprotein of the extracellular matrix which is important for the development of the nervous system and has a range of different functions which are mediated by the different protein domains present. TN-C contains eight constitutive fibronectin type III (FNIII) domains and a region of alternatively spliced FNIII domains. In the mouse and chick, six of these domains have been described and characterized, whereas in human there are nine of them. In this report, we show that seven alternatively spliced FNIII domains exist in rat and describe the differential expression pattern of the additional domain AD1 during embryonic and postnatal rat brain development. The AD1 domain of rat is homologous to the ones described in human and chick proteins but does not exist in mouse. Its expression can be located to the developing rat hippocampus and the lining of the lateral ventricle, regions where the TN-C protein may affect the behavior of stem and progenitor cells. During hippocampal development AD1 and the other alternatively spliced domains are differentially expressed as shown by RT-PCRs, immunocytochemistry and in situ hybridizations.