Although it is well established that cortical and hippocampal γ-aminobutyric acid (GABA)-ergic neurons generally have large numbers of Ca2+-permeable α-amino-3-hydroxy-5-methyl-4-isoxazolepropionic acid (AMPA)/kainate channels (Ca-A/K channels), their presence on pyramidal neurons is controversial. Ca2+ permeability of AMPA channels is regulated by expression of a particular glutamate receptor subunit (GluR2), which confers Ca2+ impermeability to heteromeric channels. Most electrophysiology studies, as well as in situ hybridization and immunolabeling studies demonstrating expression of GluR2 mRNA or peptide in pyramidal neurons, have provided evidence against the presence of Ca-A/K channels on pyramidal neurons. However, observations that pyramidal neurons often appear to be labeled by kainate-stimulated Co2+ influx (Co2+(+) cells), a histochemical stain that identifies cells possessing Ca-A/K channels, suggests that they may have these channels. The present study futher examines cellular and subcellular distribution of Ca-A/K channels on hippocampal pyramidal neurons in slice as well as in culture. To this end, techniques of kainate-stimulated Co2+ influx labeling, supplemented by AMPA receptor subunit immunocytochemistry and fluorescent imaging of kainate-stimulated intracellular Ca2+ ([Ca2+]i) rises are employed. Co2+ labeling is often seen in pyramidal neuronal dendrites in both slice and in culture. In addition, although GluR1 and 4 staining in these neurons is often seen in the soma and dendrites, GluR2 label, when evident, is generally more restricted to the soma. Finally, measurement of kainate-stimulated [Ca2+]i rises in cultured neurons, assessed by using low affinity Ca2+ indicators in the presence of N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) receptor and voltage-sensitive Ca2+ channel blockade, often shows dendritic rises to precede those in the somata. Thus, these data support the hypothesis that Ca-A/K channels are present in dendritic domains of many pyramidal neurons, and may help to provide resolution of the apparently conflicting data regarding their distribution. J. Comp.Neurol. 409:250–260, 1999. © 1999 Wiley-Liss, Inc.