We have localized the dopamine D1 receptor in rat retina using a subtype-specific monoclonal antibody. Immunolabelling can be detected in the inner and outer plexiform layers and in a number of cells in the inner nuclear layer. In the inner plexiform layer, labelled processes form four distinct horizontal bands and a series of patches. In order further to characterize the labelling pattern of the D1 receptor antibody, double-labelling experiments were performed with antibodies against population-specific neuronal markers in the retina. Antibodies against tyrosine hydroxylase. choline acetyltransferase, calretinin, calbindin, the glutamate transporter GLT-I, protein kinase C, recoverin and parvalbumin were co-applied with the D, receptor antibody. With these cell markers we demonstrate that horizontal cells, at least three types of cone bipolar cells and a small number of amacrine cells are immunolabelled for the D1 receptor. In the inner plexiform layer, processes labelled by the D1 receptor antibody are co-stratified with processes labelled by the GLT-1 antibody. D1 receptor-labelled processes are not co-localized with the processes of amacrine cells and ganglion cells labelled by antibodies against tyrosine hydroxylase, choline acetyltransferase or calretinin. Our results indicate that dopamine Dl receptors are localized predominantly to horizontal cells and cone bipolar cells. Furthermore, the spatial disparity between dopaminergic processes and the site of the majority of D1 receptors supports the idea that in the retina dopamine acts as a neuromodulator that diffuses through extracellular space. The localization of D1 receptors to a number of identified cell types enables future physiological work to be directed towards specific synaptic circuits within the retina.