The indirect immunofluorescence technique was used to study the cellular localization of DARPP-32, a dopamine- and cyclic AMP-regulated phosphoprotein, in brown adipose tissue of newborn piglets. Clusters of strongly DARPP-32-immunoreactive cells were found in brown adipose tissue from the interscapular area and around lymph nodes close to the kidneys, adrenal glands, descending aorta, and great veins in the neck. The DARPP-32-immunoreactive cells contained multilocular lipid droplets, had round, centrally located nuclei, and were polygonal in shape, thus possessing characteristics and location sites typical for brown fat cells. The results indicate that brown adipose tissue from the newborn pig contains DARPP-32, an intracellular third messenger for dopamine. Together with recent functional data, these results strongly suggest that dopaminergic D1 mechanisms--i.e., activation of adenylate cyclase and formation of cyclic AMP--may be involved in cold-induced, nonshivering, and/or diet-induced thermogenesis.