The distribution of urotensin-II-immunoreactivity (irU-II) was studied in the rat brainstem and spinal cord with the use of an antiserum against the human urotensin II (U-II) peptide. A population of ventral horn neurons in the spinal cord, hypoglossal nucleus, dorsal motor nucleus of the vagus, facial motor nucleus, nucleus ambiguus, abducens nucleus and trigeminal motor nucleus exhibited irU-II of varying intensities. The number of irU-II motor neurons was higher in the lumbar segments as compared to that of cervical, thoracic and sacral segments. Double-labeling the sections with U-II- and choline acetyltransferase (ChAT)-antisera revealed that nearly all irU-II ventral horn and brainstem neurons were ChAT-positive. The result provides the first immunohistochemical evidence of the presence of irU-II in cholinergic motoneurons of the rat spinal cord and brainstem.