RC3/neurogranin is a calmodulin-binding protein kinase C substrate, located in dendritic spines of forebrain neurons. It has been implicated in post-synaptic signal transduction events involving Ca2+ and calmodulin leading to many forms of synaptic plasticity. RC3 gene expression is under developmental and physiological regulation. The main physiological regulator appears to be thyroid gland activity. Hypothyroidism decreased RC3 mRNA concentration in the brain of post-natal day 22 rats. The affected areas included layer 6 of cerebral cortex, layers 2-3 of retrosplenial cortex, dentate gyrus and the caudate whereas others were not affected by hypothyroidism, such as upper layers of cerebral cortex, the pyramidal layer of the hippocampus and the amygdala. A single administration of triiodothyronine (T3) induced a significant transcriptional increase of RC3 mRNA in hypothyroid rats, 24 h after administration. Differential sensitivity to thyroid hormone was not related to differential expression of T3 receptor isoforms or the T3 receptor inhibitory variant alpha2. Therefore, it is likely that cell sensitivity to thyroid hormone in the brain depends on T3 receptor-associated factors.