The distribution of glucocorticoid (GR) receptor messenger RNAs (mRNAs) and GR receptors was studied by in situ hybridization histochemistry and immunocytochemistry, respectively. In situ hybridization histochemistry was performed with a biotin-labeled riboprobe complementary to rat GR receptor mRNA. GR receptor mRNAs were demonstrated in spiral ligament cells, spiral limbus cells, and spiral ganglion cells. GR receptor mRNAs were demonstrated neither in cells of the stria vascularis nor in cells of the organ of Corti region. With the use of a monoclonal and a polyclonal antibody, GR receptors were observed in the spiral ligament cells, stria vascularis cells, spiral limbus cells, and spiral ganglion cells by immunocytochemistry. Binding of anti-GR-receptor antibodies to a lesser extent was observed in the organ of Corti region; however, cellular distribution of the GR receptors could not be resolved with the applied techniques. These results suggest that the GR receptor is expressed differently in the heterogeneous cochlear tissues.