The pharmacology and brain mRNA distribution of the neuropeptide Y (NPY) rat Y5 (rY5) receptor has led to the hypothesis that this receptor might mediate the hypothalamic feeding response to NPY in addition to many other physiologic functions. However, through the use of autoradiographic techniques, only very low levels of Y5-like immunoreactive (Y5-ir) binding are detected in the rat brain. To localize the Y5 protein in the rat brain, polyclonal antibodies were raised to the carboxyl terminus of the rY5 receptor. The resulting antisera were affinity purified and characterized by specific binding to HEK293 cells that had been stably transfected with the rY5 receptor. Utilizing immunohistochemical techniques, we found a discrete pattern of Y5-ir in the rat brain. In initial studies, very low levels of Y5-ir were detected, and TSA amplification was required to visualize the staining. Areas with the highest levels of expression include the piriform cortex, supraoptic nucleus, and hippocampus. Areas with moderate levels of expression include the lateral septum, amygdala, arcuate nucleus, paraventricular hypothalamic nucleus, locus coeruleus, and cerebellum. With several exceptions, this pattern of distribution is consistent with earlier reports of rY5 mRNA and receptor protein expression.