Nucleoside transport may be involved in the regulation of extracellular levels of adenosine, an inhibitory neuromodulator in the central nervous system. Previous reports have provided functional evidence for Na+-dependent nucleoside transport in rat brain. We isolated total RNA from various regions of rat brain and tested for the presence of mRNA for two recently cloned Na+/nucleoside cotransporters using reverse transcriptase PCR (RT-PCR). Messenger RNA for a pyrimidine-selective Na+/nucleoside cotransporter mRNA (rCNT1) was detected in samples from each brain region tested by RT-PCR amplification of a 309-bp DNA product. Southern blot and sequence analysis confirmed that this product was derived from rCNT1 mRNA. A purine-selective Na+/nucleoside cotransporter mRNA (rCNT2, also termed SPNT) was detected throughout brain by amplifying a 235-bp DNA product, the sequence of which was identical to that published. These experiments demonstrate the presence of both rCNT1 and rCNT2 mRNA in rat brain.