Abstract The activity of histochemically demonstrable aspartate aminotransferase was measured histophotometrically in the hippocampal formation, in dorsal root ganglia, and in superior cervical ganglia during postnatal development of the rat. The enzyme activity showed a marked (up to 15 times) increase in the dendritic layers of the hippocampal formation during the first weeks of life. Just as previous biochemical findings, the present data coincide with parameters of maturation of glutamatergic/aspartatergic structures in the hippocampal formation and other brain regions. For comparison, aspartate aminotransferase activities in both superior cervical ganglia and dorsal root ganglia were remarkably stable in the period studied. A nearly total transection of the CA3 pyramidal cell axon collaterals (Schaffer's collaterals) resulted in a striking reduction in aspartate aminotransferase activity within their target areas of the CA1 region (by 51.4% in stratum oriens, and by 60.2% in stratum radiatum). Our histochemical and histophotometrical data strongly account for the assumption that aspartate aminotransferase, beyond its numerous functions in general amino acid and nitrogen metabolism, is involved in the synthesis and/or catabolism of glutamate and aspartate used as excitatory transmitters.