Modulation of glutamatergic NMDA receptors affects the synchronization of spike discharges in in WAG/Rij rats, a valid genetic animal model of absence epilepsy. In this study, we describe the alteration of NR2B subunit of NMDA receptors expression in WAG/Rij rats in different somatosensory cortical layers and in hippocampal CA1 area. Experimental groups were divided into four groups of six rats of both WAG/Rij and Wistar strains with 2 and 6 months of age. The distribution of NR2B receptors was assessed by immunohistochemical staining in WAG/Rij and compared with age-matched Wistar rats. The expression of NR2B subunit was significantly decreased in different somatosensory cortical layers in 2- and 6-month-old WAG/Rij rats. In addition, the distribution of NR2B in hippocampal CA1 area was lower in 6-month-old WAG/Rij compared with age-matched Wistar rats. The reduction of NR2B receptors in different brain areas points to disturbance of glutamate receptors expression in cortical and subcortical areas in WAG/Rij rats. An altered subunit assembly of NMDA receptors may underlie cortical hyperexcitability in absence epilepsy. Synapse 67:839–846, 2013. © 2013 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.