The last decade has witnessed advances in understanding the roles of receptors of neurotrophin and glutamate in the vestibular system. In the first section of this review, the biological actions of neurotrophins and their receptors in the peripheral and central vestibular systems are summarized. Emphasis will be placed on the roles of neurotrophins in developmental plasticity and in the maintenance of vestibular function in the adult animal. This is reviewed in relation to the developmental expression pattern of neurotrophins and their receptors within the vestibular nuclei. The second part is focused on the functional role of different glutamate receptors on central vestibular neurons. The developmental expression pattern of glutamate receptor subunits within the vestibular nuclei is reviewed in relation to the potential role of glutamate receptors in regulating the development of vestibular function. Copyright © 2003 National Science Council, ROC and S. Karger AG, Basel.