[125I]CGP42112 [Nic-Tyr-(epsilon-CBZ (benzyloxycarbonyl)-Arg)Lys-His-Pro-Ile] does not only recognize angiotensin II AT2 receptors, but has also the capacity to label a high-affinity, non-angiotensin II binding site, selectively associated with macrophages and activated microglia. We have searched for the structural requirements of the novel CGP42112 binding site, and compared these with the requirements for binding to the angiotensin II AT2 site. We designed a series of CGP42112 analogs and evaluated the new compounds by using binding assays on rat spleen (CGP42112 site) and rat fetal (angiotensin II AT2 site) membranes. The non-peptidic analog Z-Arg(Pmc)OH (N alpha CBZ-NG-2,2,5,7,8-pentamethylchroman-6-sulphonyl-L-Arg), the side chain of CGP42112 substituted on the guanidinium group, was selective in recognizing the CGP42112 site, and did not displace binding from the angiotensin II AT2 site. This is a potential lead compound for development of CGP42112 site-selective analogs. Conversely, the CGP42112 analog lacking the CBZ-group (Nic-Tyr-(Ac-Arg)Lys-His-ProOH, III) and the peptide Nic-Tyr-Lys-His-Ala-HisOH (VI), were selective for the angiotensin II AT2 site, and recognized the CGP42112 site poorly. Our results demonstrate that the structural requirements for the nonangiotensin II CGP42112 and the angiotensin II AT2 binding sites are different. We propose that the CBZ group and the free carboxyl terminal group, together with their spatial orientation, are key components of the molecule for the interaction in the non-angiotensin CGP42112 binding pocket.