The innate immunity, utilizes a battery of broad-spectrum antibacterial cationic polypeptides (3-5 kDa) named α- and β-defensins. Several β-defensins have been isolated and shown to play a role in the defense of various tissues. Herein, we report the expression pattern of two rat β-defensins, rBD-1 and rBD-2, in liver, kidney, lung, spleen, and brain using RT-PCR. To study polymorphism and verify gene identity, all cDNA products were sequenced. rBD-1 was expressed in the kidney, lung, brain, but not in spleen or liver, whereas rBD-2 was expressed in the lung, but not in the kidney or spleen. In addition, rBD-2 was expressed in the brain and liver. No polymorphism was found in the genes encoding rat β-defensins. These findings demonstrate a different expression pattern for rBD-2 than what has been reported. We conclude that the rat may be a useful model to investigate the function and contribution of β-defensins to host defense.