Mammalian uteri contain both lipoxygenase and cyclooxygenase pathways of arachidonic acid metabolism. Sulfidopeptidyl leukotrienes formed by the lipoxygenase pathway can stimulate uterine contractions and play a role in uterine preparation for implantation. These actions of leukotrienes are perhaps mediated by binding to specific receptors. To understand the cellular basis of leukotriene C4 action, the present quantitative light microscopic autoradiographic study was undertaken on nonpregnant bovine uterine tissue. The results demonstrated that the circular and elongated myometrial smooth muscle, uterine vascular smooth muscle, stromal cells of endometrium, and fibroblasts of perimetrium, but not the endometrial glands, vascular endothelium, and erythrocytes in lumen of arterioles, contained specific silver grains after incubation with [3H]leukotriene C4. The number of grains per 100-micron2 areas were similar in circular and elongated myometrial smooth muscle (P greater than 0.05), which was higher than in other uterine cells (P less than 0.05-0.01). The grains in all cells were greatly reduced after coincubation with excess unlabeled leukotriene C4, but not with leukotriene A4, leukotriene B4, leukotriene D4, leukotriene E4, prostaglandin E2, prostaglandin F2 alpha, or prostacyclin. In conclusion, leukotriene C4 may regulate both uterine cells and uterine vasculature and exert contractile and noncontractile actions via the specific leukotriene C4-binding sites present in different cell types.