Mianserin, a tetracyclic antidepressant, is a potent serotonin (5-HT) and histamine H1 antagonist in peripheral smooth muscle systems. Mianserin was found to possess high affinity for 5-HT2 and histamine H1 receptor binding sites in brain membranes. By using [3H]mianserin, both 5-HT2 and histamine H1 receptors can be specifically labeled in rat cerebral cortex membranes. Simultaneous incubation of brain membranes with 300 nM triprolidine or 30 nM spiroperidol enables the selective labeling of 5-HT2 or histamine H1 receptors, respectively. In the guinea-pig cerebellum, [3H]mianserin exclusively labels histamine H1 receptors, since 5-HT2 sites are virtually absent in this area.