We have used RNA in situ hybridization to study the regional expression of the Huntington's disease gene (HD) and its rat homologue in brain and selected nonneural tissues. The HD transcript was expressed throughout the brain in both rat and human, especially in the neurons of the dentate gyrus and pyramidal neurons of the hippocampal formation, cerebellar granule cell layer, cerebellar Purkinje cells and pontine nuclei. Other brain areas expressed lower levels of the HD transcript without pronounced regional differences. Neuronal expression predominated over glial expression in all regions. HD mRNA was also expressed in colon, liver, pancreas and testes. The regional specificity of neuropathology in HD, which is most prominent in the basal ganglia, thus cannot be accounted for by the pattern of expression of HD. © 1993 Nature Publishing Group.