Two highly related 70K heat shock proteins, encoded by the hsc70 and hsp70 genes, are located in the nucleocytoplasmic compartment of mammalian cells. In contrast to rodent cell lines, which express Hsp70 only when stressed, many human cell lines constitutively express Hsp70. The degree to which this reflects constitutive expression of Hsp70 in normal human tissues has not been extensively examined. In this study, we show by immunoblotting that human Hsp70 is constitutively expressed in the ovary, cervix, and endometrium and, by immunohistochemical analysis using Hsp70- and Hsc70-specific antibodies, that Hsp70 and Hsc70 are expressed in distinctive and predominantly overlapping patterns in the cervix and endometrium. In these two tissues, the highest levels of both proteins are seen in differentiated, non-proliferating epithelial cells, which is surprising in light of previous studies suggesting growth stimulation of hsp70 gene expression. These observations sugest the possibility that in certain human tissues, basal expression of the hsp70 and hsc70 genes is coregulated.