Humans, non-human primates and rodents show declines in spatial memory abilities with increased age. Some of these declines in mice are related to changes in the expression of the epsilon2 (ε2) (NR2B) subunit of the N-methyl-D-aspartate receptor. The purpose of this study was to determine whether primates show changes during aging in the mRNA expression of the NR2B subunit. In situ hybridization was performed on tissue sections from three different ages of Rhesus monkeys (Macaca mulatta; 6-8, 10-12, and 24-26 years). There was a significant decrease in the mRNA expression of the NR2B subunit overall in the prefrontal cortex and in the caudate nucleus between young and old monkeys. There were no significant changes in NR2B mRNA expression in the hippocampus or the parahippocampal gyrus. The results in the prefrontal cortex, caudate and hippocampus were similar to those seen previously in C57BL/6 mice during aging, which suggests that mice may be useful as a model for primates to further examine the age-related changes in the expression of the NR2B subunit of the NMDA receptor in several important regions of the brain. © 2003 Elsevier Science Inc. All rights reserved.