For five members of the family of the small leucine-rich proteoglycans (SLRPs), the expression pattern during fetal development was analyzed. RNA in situ hybridization on whole body sections of mouse embryos was performed for biglycan (Bgn), decorin (Dcn), fibromodulin (Fmod), chondroadherin (Chad), and lumican (Lum). Special attention was given to the question of whether these patterns coincide only with sites of collagen secretion in connective tissue during tissue modeling or if expression can be observed at specific sites of organ differentiation also. In general, Fmod, Lum, and Bgn are expressed at sites of cartilage and bone formation and interstitial tissue deposition; Chad is expressed only at sites of cartilage; and Dcn is expressed only at sites of interstitial tissue deposition. However, there are some distinct developmental stages where no collagen secretion is known to occur. For example, this applies for the expression of Fmod in the forming somites of stage 9.5 postconception (p.c.), for Dcn and Lum in later stage embryos in the pituitary gland and dorsal root ganglia, and for Bgn and Dcn during differentiation in the kidney. These studies provide further evidence for a role of these molecules during connective tissue organization but also for an involvement at specific sites of organ differentiation.