Calretinin is a calcium-binding protein of the EF-hand family. It has been previously identified in particular cell types of adult guinea pig, rat, and chinchilla inner ear. Development of calretinin immunoreactivity in the mouse inner ear was investigated from embryonic day 13 (E13) to the adult stage. In the adult mouse vestibule, calretinin immunoreactivity was present in the same structures as described for the rat and guinea pig: the population of afferent fibers forming calyx units and a small number of ganglion neurons. The earliest immunoreactivity was found at E17 in vestibular hair cells (VHCs), then, at E19, in afferent fibers entering the sensory epithelia and in rare ganglion neurons. At postnatal day 4 (P4), a few vestibular nerve fibers and ganglion neurons were reactive. From this stage until P14, immunoreactivity developed in the calyx units and disappeared from VHCs. At P14, immunostaining was adult-like. In the adult mouse cochlea, immunoreactivity was present in the same cell populations as described in the rat: the inner hair cells (IHCs) and most of Corti's ganglion neurons. Calretinin immunoreactivity appeared at E19-P0 in IHCs and ganglion neurons of the basal turn. At P1, outer hair cells (OHCs) of the basal turn were positive. Calretinin immunoreactivity then appeared in IHCs, OHCs, and ganglion neurons of the medial turn, then of the apical turn. At P4, all IHCs and OHCs and most of the ganglion neurons were immunostained. Immunoreactivity gradually disappeared from the OHCs starting at P10 and, at P22, only IHCs and ganglion neurons were positive. The sequences of appearance of calretinin were specific to each cell type of the inner ear and paralleled their respective maturation. Calretinin was transiently expressed in VHCs and OHCs.