The neurotoxicant trimethyltin (TMT) induces massive neuronal loss in vivo in the hippocampus of rodents, accompanied by behavioral alterations. The present study investigates the pattern of cell death after in vivo administration of TMT to adult mice. In the granular cell layer of the Dentate Gyrus, TUNEL staining detected DNA fragmentation, and apoptotic bodies were also evident. In addition, a ladder pattern of internucleosomal DNA fragmentation was shown in agarose gel electrophoresis. We show that activated caspase-3, which is known to play a pivotal role in apoptotic processes, is clearly expressed by degenerating neurons. Inducible cyclooxygenase is also expressed at cytoplasmic level by degenerating granular neurons, suggesting that this enzyme may participate in TMT-induced neurodegeneration.