We report here on the characterization and immunohistochemical localization in human tissues of calcitonin receptor-like receptor (CRLR) which was recently found to mediate the effects of both calcitonin gene-related peptide (CGRP) and adrenomedullin (ADM). Western blot analysis using antibodies raised against the first extracellular loop and the carboxy-terminal part of hCRLR, respectively, detected two major bands corresponding to about 70 and 60 kDa in membrane preparations of cultured endothelial cells and numerous organs including lung, heart ventricle and kidney. Immunohistochemical analysis of the cardiovascular system revealed CRLR-like immunoreactivity (CRLR-LI) in the endothelium of all blood vessels including large and small arteries, veins and capillaries, and in heart muscle cells and endocardium. The lung showed intense staining over the alveolar capillaries. Within the digestive tract, staining was observed over the cells lining the excretory ducts of the parotid gland, over the epithelium of the fundic glands of stomach, endocrine cells of the duodenum and ileum and some myenteric ganglia. The kidney presented staining of the juxtaglomerular arteries, the glomerular capillaries and chief cells of the collecting duct. Within the endocrine organs, a strong CRLR-LI signal was observed over the Langerhans islets, and weak immunoreactivity in the Leydig cells of testis. Spleen showed intense staining in trabecular veins and sinuses. Macrophages displayed a variable immunoreactivity. Our data demonstrate a wide distribution of CRLR throughout the human body and suggest CRLR to be involved in the mediation of a variety of actions in addition to vascular control.