Using highly specific antisera directed against conjugated d-amino acids, the distribution of d-glutamate-, d-tryptophan-, d-cysteine-, d-tyrosine- and d-methionine-immunoreactive structures in the rat brain was studied. Cell bodies containing d-glutamate, but not d-glutamate-immunoreactive fibers, were found. Perikarya containing this d-amino acid were only found in the mesencephalon and thalamus of the rat CNS. Thus, the highest density of cell bodies containing d-glutamate was observed in the dorsal raphe nucleus, the ventral part of the mesencephalic central gray, the superior colliculus, above the posterior commissure, and in the subparafascicular thalamic nucleus. A moderate density of immunoreactive cell bodies was observed in the dorsal part of the mesencephalic central gray, above the rostral linear nucleus of the raphe, the nucleus of Darkschewitsch, and in the medial habenular nucleus, whereas a low density was found below the medial forebrain bundle and in the posterior thalamic nuclear group. Moreover, no immunoreactive fibers or cell bodies were visualized containing d-tryptophan, d-cysteine, d-tyrosine or d-methionine in the rat brain. The distribution of d-glutamate-immunoreactive cell bodies in the rat brain suggests that this d-amino acid could be involved in several physiological mechanisms. This work reports the first visualization and the morphological characteristics of conjugated d-glutamate-immunoreactive cell bodies in the rat CNS using an indirect immunoperoxidase technique. Our results suggest that the immunoreactive neurons observed have an uptake mechanism for d-glutamate.