The high mobility group gene, HMGA2, is frequently expressed in uterine leiomyomata (UL) with chromosomal rearrangements of 12q15. In contrast, HMGA2 expression has not been detected in karyotypically normal UL or in myometrium, but has been detected in these tissues after culture. To characterize further the expression pattern of HMGA2, we assessed HMGA2 expression by RT-PCR followed by Southern blot hybridization, and by real-time PCR in three tissue panels: (1) primary myometrial cultures, (2) uncultured tissue from 15 karyotypically normal samples consisting of eleven 46,XX UL and four matched myometrial specimens, and (3) uncultured tissue from ten UL with 12q15 rearrangements and three matched myometrial specimens. HMGA2 expression was detected in all samples from the three panels. The level of HMGA2 expression in karyotypically normal UL was similar to the level of expression in myometrium; however, it was significantly less than the level measured in UL with 12q15 rearrangements. This expression analysis by use of detection methods of different sensitivities underscores the importance of studies of HMGA2 expression in uncultured tissues and of careful interpretation of results from experiments on cultured cells. Moreover, detection of HMGA2 expression in myometrium and in UL without 12q15 rearrangements, tissues previously thought not to express HMGA2, suggests that HMGA2 expression is required in normal adult myometrial physiology. © 2003 Wiley-Liss, Inc.