The distribution of galanin-immunoreactive (GAL-IR) cell bodies in the basal forebrain of mice was investigated. The overall pattern of staining for GAL in the area of brain analyzed was similar to that reported in other species with noticeable variations. Distinctive groups of GAL-IR cells were present in the bed nucleus of stria terminalis (BNST), supraoptic nucleus, retrochiasmatic supraoptic nucleus (SOR), magnocellular paraventricular nucleus, arcuate nucleus (ARC) and the nucleus circularis which is one of the cell groups belonging to the accessory magnocellular system. Comparison of the number of GAL-IR cells between the sexes indicated sexual dimorphism in the BNST, SOR and the ARC. As compared with female mice, the mean number of GAL-IR cells/section in the BNST and the SOR was higher and that in the ARC was lower in the males. Unlike in rats, the preoptic area contained mostly scattered GAL-IR cell bodies. Intraperitoneal injection of the retrograde tracer fluoro-gold in male mice resulted in uptake of fluoro-gold by selective GAL-IR cell groups in the basal forebrain suggesting that only some of these cell groups may project outside the blood-brain barrier whereas others may be involved in intracerebral neural transmission.