The vesicular monoamine transporter-2 (VMAT2) mediates the reserpine-sensitive neuronal uptake of monoamines into vesicles and other intracellular organelles. Accordingly, this transporter is expressed at high levels in regions that contain a dense monoamine innervation, such as the rat dorsolateral striatum. We used ultrastructural immunocytochemistry in this region to show that immunogold labeling for VMAT2 is present in varicose axonal processes, many of which also contain the catecholamine-synthesizing enzyme tyrosine-hydroxylase. Within these mainly dopaminergic processes, VMAT2 was associated with small synaptic vesicles (SSVs) and more rarely with large dense-core vesicles or tubulovesicles. These findings suggest that SSVs are the major organelles involved in the storage and release of dopamine in the dorsolateral striatum.