Abnormalities of molecules associated with the glutamate synapse have been implicated in the pathophysiology of schizophrenia. Of the many glutamate receptors, those most commonly suggested to be involved in schizophrenia are the ionotropic subtypes, the NMDA, AMPA, and kainate receptors. Both the NMDA and AMPA subtypes have been extensively studied in postmortem brains of individuals with schizophrenia, but relatively little is known about the expression of the kainate subtype of glutamate receptor. In this study, we have determined cortical and striatal kainate receptor expression in brains from persons with schizophrenia and a comparison group, using both in situ hybridization and receptor autoradiography. At the level of subunit mRNA expression, a shift in subunit stoichiometry was evident in multiple regions of the prefrontal cortex, with increased expression of gluR7 mRNA and decreased expression of KA2 mRNA. Decreased kainate receptor binding was also observed in the subjects with schizophrenia, but was restricted to infragranular laminae of the prefrontal cortex. No differences in kainate receptor binding or subunit mRNA levels were found in striatum or occipital cortex, suggesting that these findings may be restricted to association cortex. These data add to the growing literature implicating ionotropic glutamate receptor disturbances in schizophrenia, and indicate that in addition to AMPA and NMDA receptors, the kainate receptors are also abnormally expressed in this illness. © 2001 American College of Neuropsychopharmacology.