The localization of a putative ATP-regulated K+ channel in normal rat and neurological mutant mice was studied by light microscopic quantitative autoradiography using a tritiated glibenclamide, an antidiabetic sulfonylurea. Glibenclamide binding sites presented a heterogeneous distribution in the rat central nervous system. Their density was particularly important in substantia nigra reticulata, septohippocampal nucleus, globus pallidus, neocortex, molecular layer of cerebellum, CA3 field and dentate gyrus of hippocampus. Conversely hypothalamic areas, medulla oblongata and spinal cord contained only low amounts of glibenclamide receptors. The ontogenesis of sulfonylurea binding sites was a postnatal phenomenon and seemed to correlate with the maturation of neuronal connectivity. In the cerebellum of neurological mutant mice, the autoradiographic patterns were different to that of wild-type cerebellum. In particular, in the molecular layer of weaver cerebellum, a decrease of 82% of binding site density suggested a presynaptic position of glibenclamide receptors in parallel fibers.