The serotonin 1b (5-HT1b) receptor is thought to mediate both pre- and postsynaptic actions of serotonin. Until recently 5-HT1b sites were thought to be present only in rodent brain. We now report the presence of high-affinity [125I]iodocyanopindolol [( 125I] ICYP) binding sites in the mouse renal medulla with properties identical to those of brain 5-HT1b receptors. In vitro receptor autoradiography demonstrates that [125I]ICYP binding is highly localized to the outer stripe of the renal medulla. Association and dissociation kinetics, saturation analysis and competition displacement analyses indicate that renal medullary [125I]ICYP binding sites exhibit identical properties with brain 5-HT1b receptors. Incubation of renal medullary or brain membranes with guanylimidodiphosphate results in a decreased affinity of 5-HT1b sites for 5-HT and [125I]ICYP; this can be reversed by the addition of a purified mixture of G proteins (Gi/Go). Treatment of brain or kidney membranes with N-ethylmaleimide results in a decrease in 5-HT1b binding which can also be restored by reconstitution with purified G proteins. Adenylyl cyclase from renal medullary homogenates or minces can be stimulated more than 3-fold by forskolin and attenuated by 5-HT. These results indicate that mouse kidney contains high-affinity 5-HT1b receptors with identical properties to those found in brain. These are localized in the outer stripe of the renal medulla and are functionally coupled to adenylyl cyclase inhibitor (Gi) G-proteins.