Organotypic cerebellar cultures, some with incorporated portions of brainstem, were immunostained after 12-19 days in vitro with three different antibodies to tyrosine hydroxylase. Similar cultures were reacted with glyoxylic acid and examined for catecholamine histofluorescence. Locus coeruleus and other subcortical neurons were positive for tyrosine hydroxylase, as were Purkinje cells and outgrowth zone astrocytes. By contrast, only locus coeruleus neurons and their axons exhibited catecholamine histofluorescence after reaction with glyoxylic acid. These results confirm previously reported in vivo developmental studies indicating that tyrosine hydroxylase can be expressed in the absence of its normal biosynthetic products, and suggest that tyrosine hydroxylase cannot be considered to be a specific marker for catecholaminergic neurons in vitro, as well as during development in vivo.