The distribution of angiotensin AT1 and AT2 receptors in the human central nervous system has been mapped and is reviewed here. The results discussed provide the anatomical basis for inferences regarding the physiological role of angiotensin in the human brain. The distribution of the AT2 receptor is very restricted in the human brain and shows a high degree of variability across species. The physiological role of this receptor in the adult central nervous system is not clear. In contrast, a high correlation exists between the distributions of AT1 receptors in the human and other mammalian brains studied. This pattern of distribution suggests that angiotensin, acting through the AT1 receptor, would act as a neuromodulator or neurotransmitter in the human central nervous system to influence fluid and electrolyte homeostasis, pituitary hormone release and autonomic control of cardiovascular function.