Assay conditions sensitive enough to measure prostaglandin (PG) biosynthetic capacity in discrete brain areas have been developed. Serial sections of the rabbit hippocampal formation were dissected from the brain, frozen, and 16 micron sections were cut and freeze dried. The assay was performed with 40-200 micrograms dry weight of tissue in a 30 microliter incubation volume containing high specific activity arachidonic acid. The whole hippocampal formation slice or its subdivisions (subiculum, dentate gyrus, and hippocampus) when assayed individually demonstrated the ability to produce approximately 30-50 pmol/mg dry weight PGF2 alpha, PGE2, and lesser amounts of PGD2 (in a ratio of 1:0.8:0.3). A modest yet significant increase in PGE2 production was measured in the dentate gyrus when compared to PGE2 formation in the subiculum or hippocampus. An intact PGE2 isomerase was confirmed in the hippocampal formation slice by incubations with PGH2 endoperoxide. These results demonstrate that quantitative histochemical techniques can be used to measure PG metabolism in microscopic regions of brain.