[3H]Muscimol, a potent GABA agonist used to label GABA receptor sites in brain and invertebrate striated muscle, was found to bind specifically to sites in a crude membrane fraction prepared from bovine cerebral blood vessels. Specific [3H]muscimol binding was saturable of high affinity (Kd = 41 nM), and was selectively inhibited by GABA, specific GABA agonists, and the antagonist bicuculline with potencies similar to what has been found for GABA receptors in mammalian brain. GABA and several GABA agonists including muscimol have been reported to dilate isolated cerebral arteries, but not peripheral blood vessels. The pharmacology of the [3H]muscimol binding site correlated well with that of the vasodilatory response. No significant specific [3H]muscimol binding was detected in aorta and mesenteric arteries. The characteristics of the cerebrovascular muscimol binding site thus are indicative of a physiologically relevant GABA receptor associated with cerebral blood vessels. These findings suggest a direct role for GABA in cerebral vascular function.