Only functional studies have suggested the presence of the ANG II type 2 (AT2) receptor in the microcirculation. To determine the distribution of this receptor in the rat skeletal muscle microcirculation, a polyclonal rabbit anti-rat antiserum was developed and used for immunohistochemistry and Western blot analysis. The antiserum was prepared against a highly specific and antigenic AT2-receptor synthetic peptide and was validated by competition and sensitivity assays. Western blot analysis demonstrated a prominent, single band at approximately 40 kDa in cremaster and soleus muscle. Immunohistochemical analysis revealed a wide distribution of AT2 receptors throughout the skeletal muscle microcirculation in large and small microvessels. Microanatomic studies displayed an endothelial localization of the AT2 receptor, whereas dual labeling with smooth muscle alpha-actin also showed colocalization of the AT2 receptor with vascular smooth muscle cells. Other cells associated with the microvessels also stained positive for AT2 receptors. Briefly, this study confirms previous functional data and localizes the AT2 receptor to the microcirculation. These studies demonstrate that the AT2 receptor is present on a variety of vascular cell types and that it is situated in a fashion that would allow it to directly oppose ANG II type 1 receptor actions.