Sodium (Na) channel cDNAs were synthesized from RNA isolated from rat brain, cardiac muscle, and skeletal muscle. Partial cDNAs coding for the largest cytoplasmic loop of the Na channel were amplified with PCR. Sequence analysis of these cDNAs revealed that Na channel cDNAs originally described as brain genes were also expressed in both cardiac and skeletal muscle. Some of these cDNAs were isoforms that differed by insertions or deletions and can be explained by alternative choices of a 5′ splice site. Southern blot analysis of genomic DNA confirmed the presence of introns in this region of the gene. Transcripts of multiple isoforms were detected with RNase protection in brain, heart, and skeletal muscle. Several conclusions can be drawn from the data. (1) Some rat sodium channel genes are transcribed in all excitable tissues studied here: brain, cardiac muscle, and skeletal muscle. (2) Each of these three tissues expresses multiple sodium channel genes. (3) Alternative splicing of sodium channel transcripts occurs in these tissues. (4) Expression of multiple genes and alternative splicing of the transcripts is responsible for at least seven different sodium channel mRNAs in skeletal muscle.