Abstract Recent investigations have shown that expression of mRNAs for the neurotrophins brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) and neurotrophin-3 (NT-3) is differentially altered in the hippocampus following traumatic brain injury. In the present study, modulation of neurotrophin receptor expression was examined in the hippocampus in a rat model of traumatic brain injury using in situ hybridization. Messenger RNA for trkB, the high-affinity receptor for BDNF and neurotrophin-4 (NT-4), was increased between 3 and 6 h bilaterally in the dentate gyrus following a lateral fluid-percussion brain injury of moderate severity (2.0–2.1 atm). No time-dependent alterations were observed for trkB mRNA in hippocampal subfields CA1 and CA3. Levels of mRNA for trkC, the high-affinity receptor for NT-3, did not change in any region of the hippocampus. These data demonstrate that lateral fluid-percussion injury modulates expression of trkB mRNA in the hippocampus and support a role for BDNF/trkB signalling mechanisms in secondary events associated with traumatic brain injury.