Metabotropic glutamate receptors (mGlus) are a family of G-protein-coupled receptors activated by the neurotransmitter glutamate. Molecular cloning has revealed eight different subtypes (mGlu1-8) with distinct molecular and pharmacological properties. Multiplicity in this receptor family is further generated through alternative splicing. mGlus activate a multitude of signalling pathways important for modulating neuronal excitability, synaptic plasticity and feedback regulation of neurotransmitter release. In this review, we summarize anatomical findings (from our work and that of other laboratories) describing their distribution in the central nervous system. Recent evidence regarding the localization of these receptors in peripheral tissues will also be examined. The distinct regional, cellular and subcellular distribution of mGlus in the brain will be discussed in view of their relationship to neurotransmitter release sites and of possible functional implications.