The expression of neurotrophins and their receptors, the low-affinity nerve growth factor receptor (p75LNGFR) and the Trk receptors (TrkA, TrkB, and TrkC), was investigated in human bone marrow from 16 weeks fetal age to adulthood. Using reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction, all transcripts encoding for catalytic and truncated human TrkB or TrkC receptors were detected together with trkAI transcripts, whereas trkAII transcripts were found only in control nerve tissues. Transcripts for the homologue of the rat truncated TrkC(ic113) receptor were identified for the first time in human tissue. Stromal adventitial reticular cells were found immunoreactive for all neutrophin receptors. In contrast, hematopoietic cell types were not immunoreactive for p75LNGFR but showed immunoreactivity for one or several Trk receptors. TrkA immunoreactivity was found in immature erythroblasts. Catalytic TrkB immunoreactivity was observed in eosinophilic metamyelocytes and polymorphonuclear cells. Truncated TrkB immunoreactivity was found in erythroblasts and megacaryocytes. Immunoreactivity for both catalytic and truncated TrkC receptor was observed in promyelocytes, myelocytes, some polymorphonuclear cells and megacaryocytes. Neutrophin transcript levels appeared higher at fetal than at adult stages, no variation in Trk family transcript levels was observed. The local expression of neurotrophin genes suggests a wide range of paracrine and/or autocrine mode of action through their corresponding receptors within the bone marrow.