The changes in expression and the subcellular localization of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) protein in the rat vestibular nuclear complex (VNC), have been investigated at different postnatal stages. Immunoblotting and ELISA analyses showed a down-regulation of BDNF protein expression in VNC with age. In addition, observations by confocal microscopy revealed that BDNF is mainly located in neuronal somata at postnatal day 8 (P8) and restricted to processes by P15. These results support the idea that BDNF could have different roles in the VNC according to the stage of development. The protein could act as a neurotrophic factor in embryonic and early postnatal stages whereas in later developmental stages of the VNC it could be involved in neuronal maturation and regulation of neuronal circuitry.