We previously demonstrated the super-induced expression of the Grin2c gene encoding the N-methyl-D-aspartate receptor 2C subunit during the development of liver enlargement with hepatocellular hypertrophy induced by phenobarbital, clofibrate, or piperonyl butoxide. In the present study, we assessed whether or not Grin2c gene expression was induced during the development of chemically induced liver enlargement with hyperplasia. Male Sprague-Dawley (SD) rats, stroke-prone spontaneously hypertensive rats (SHRSPs), and SHRSP's normotensive control, Wistar-Kyoto (WKY) rats, were administered lead nitrate (LN) (0.1 mmol/kg, single i.v.), a direct inducer of liver hyperplasia, and changes in the level of Grin2c mRNA in the liver were assessed by real-time RT-PCR. The level of hepatic Grin2c mRNA was significantly higher 6-48 hr after the injection in SD rats (about 30~40- and 70-fold over the control at 6~24 hr and 48 hr, respectively) and in WKY rats (about 20-fold over the control only at 12 hr), but was not significantly higher in SHRSPs. Such differences in LN-induced levels of Grin2c mRNA among SD rats, WKY rats, and SHRSPs were closely correlated with those in the previously reported increase in liver weight 48 hr after LN administration. The present findings suggest that the increase in the level of hepatic Grin2c mRNA relates to development of chemically induced liver enlargement with hyperplasia.