The regional and developmental expression of epidermal growth factor (EGF) receptor in rat hippocampus was investigated utilizing immunocytochemical techniques at the light and electron microscopic levels. EGF receptor immunoreactivity in adult hippocampus was compared to that found at postnatal day 7 (P7). While the receptor was observed in P7 hippocampus, immunostaining was more prominent in the adult hippocampus, especially in the pyramidal CA2 field. Ultrastructural analysis of this region revealed that the receptor was localized to the cell bodies of both P7 and adult neurons rather than the axons or dendrites. The expression of EGF receptor in selected regions of the adult brain was verified by Western blotting. These results demonstrate the presence of EGF receptor in rat hippocampus as early as P7, localize the receptor to the pyramidal cell body, and establish the hippocampal formation, particularly CA2, as a major site of EGF receptor expression in rat brain.