Cytochrome P450 4F isoforms have been shown to metabolize arachidonic acid to generate 20-hydroxyeicosatetraenoic acid (20-HETE), a potent eicosanoid that modulates vascular tone and renal tubular function. 20-HETE production in the kidney is implicated in the development of essential hypertension in the spontaneously hypertensive rat (SHR). In this study, we determined CYP4F mRNA localization and distribution in rat liver and kidney by in situ hybridization and real time quantitative PCR. CYP4Fs are regionally distributed in the kidney with CYP4F1, 4F4, and 4F5 being expressed more in the renal cortex than medulla while CYP4F6 shows higher medullary expression. We investigated developmental CYP4F gene expression in three different substrains of SHR. Distinct age-dependent patterns of expression were seen for individual CYP4F isoforms in Wistar-Kyoto (WKY) and three SHR substrains (B2, C, and A3). A steady increase in CYP4F1 expression with age was seen in each of the three substrains which correlate well with increased 20-HETE levels and elevated blood pressure seen in these animals. CYP4F4 expression increased significantly at 8 weeks followed by a precipitous fall in WKY and A3 strains at 12 weeks of age. In strains B2 and C, CYP4F4 levels started declining as early as 8 weeks of age. CYP4F5 and 4F6 levels fluctuated with age in a biphasic manner with a different profile for each sub-strain. Based on the expression profile and catalytic activity, CYP4F1 seems to be the most critical 4F isoform involved in the production of 20-HETE in the SHR kidney.