The mRNA distribution of chromogranins A and B and secretogranin II was determined in rat brain. In Northern blots the oligonucleotide probes used hybridized with single mRNA species of the expected sizes. With tissue hybridization the mRNA signals for these three proteins were found throughout the brain. However, each of the three messages had a distinct distribution, which was exemplified by the fact that in the various regions either all three proteins, a combination of two or only one of them were apparently synthesized. Significant levels of all three mRNAs were found in several regions of the hippocampus and of the amygdala, in some thalamic nuclei and in the pyriform cortex. On the other hand the subiculum contained only the message for chromogranin A, the granule cell layer of the cerebellum only that for chromogranin B, and in posterior intralaminar thalamic and medial geniculate nuclei and in the nucleus of the solitary tract only secretogranin II mRNA was found. The distinct distributions of mRNAs for the chromogranins in various brain regions support the concept that these proteins are propeptides giving rise to functionally active components.