This report describes a systematic analysis of the expression of the fibroblast growth factor receptor (FGFR) multigene family (FGFR1, FGFR2, FGFR3, and FGFR4) in archival serial sections of normal human adult tissues representing the major organ systems, using immunohistochemical techniques. Polyclonal antisera specific for FGFR1, FGFR2, FGFR3, and FGFR4 and a three-stage immunoperoxidase technique were employed to determine the cellular distribution of these receptors at the protein level. The expression profiles for the tissue-specific cellular localization of the FGFR multigene family demonstrated wide-spread and striking differential patterns of expression of individual receptors in the epithelia and mesenchyme of multiple tissues (stomach, salivary glands, pancreas, thymus, ureter, and cornea) and co-expression of FGFR1-4 in the same cell types of other tissues. The wide-spread expression of FGFR1-4 in multiple organ systems suggests an important functional role in normal tissue homeostasis. Differences in the spatial patterns of FGFR gene expression may generate functional diversity in response to FGF-1 and FGF-2, both of which bind with equally high affinity to more than one receptor subtype. In vivo, this may lead to functional differences that are crucial for the regulation of normal physiological processes and are responsible for the pathological mechanisms that orchestrate various disease processes.