Morphometric changes in the rat lateral ventricle choroid plexus epithelium and endothelium and in the ventricular ependyma were studied between 16 days gestation and 30 days after birth, using stereological techniques. The epithelial apical surface density increased from 0.6 to 3.3 microns 2/microns 3 and the mitochondrial volume fraction from 3.2 to 7.6% during this period. The endothelial fenestrations increased from 0.05 to 0.39 micron-1. These changes may be related to postnatal increases in choroid plexus function. Morphological changes in basolateral surface density, cell height and nucleus and glycogen volume fraction have also been measured. The development of the lateral ventricle choroid plexus was qualitatively similar to the fourth ventricle plexus reported previously, but small quantitative differences occurred. The ventricular ependyma also showed a significant increase in mitochondrial volume fraction after birth, though to a lesser extent than the plexus epithelium. The total apical surface area of the choroid plexuses was estimated at 75 cm2 for 30-day-old rats. This figure, which takes into account the apical microvilli, is much greater than previous estimates and is similar to the surface area of the cerebral capillaries (155 cm2), and suggests that the choroid plexuses may play a more important role in the regulation of the brain microenvironment than previously thought.