The neuropeptide galanin coexists in 80–90% of the norepinephrine‐containing neurons in the locus coeruleus. In situ hybridization histochemistry was used to examine the effects of reserpine treatment or swim stress on tyrosine hydroxylase and galanin mRNA concentrations in locus coeruleus neurons. Reserpine administration significantly increased tyrosine hydroxylae and galanin mRNA levels in the locus coeruleus. The reserpine‐induced increase in tyrosine hydroxylase mRNA was significantly correlated with the reserpine‐induced increase in galanin mRNA. Three consecutive days of swim stress did not significantly alter either tyrosine hydroxylase or galanin mRNA concentration in the locus coeruleus. These data suggest that both tyrosine hydroxylase and galanin gene expression in locus coeruleus neurons may be regulated by a reserpine‐sensitive mechanism.