Abstract: The external plexiform layer of the olfactory bulb is among the brain regions where insulin receptors are most abundant. In vitro binding of porcine 125I-insulin to membranes of dendrodendritic synaptosomes isolated from adult rat olfactory bulbs was studied to test the hypothesis that dendrodendritic synapses are major insulin-receptive sites in the external plexiform layer of olfactory bulbs. Of the specific insulin binding sites present in a total particulate fraction from the olfactory bulbs, approximately half were recovered in the dendrodendritic synaptosome fraction. The only other subcellular fraction to which substantial insulin binding was observed was the conventional (axodendritic/axosomatic) synaptosome fraction. Analysis of equilibrium binding of insulin to dendrodendritic synaptosomal membranes, at total insulin concentrations of 0.5-1,000 nM, revealed binding site heterogeneity consistent with a two-site model for insulin binding to a high-affinity (KD= 6 nM), low-capacity (Bmax= 110 fmol/mg of protein) site and a low-affinity (KD= 190 nM), high-capacity (Bmax= 570 fmol/mg of protein) site. The results indicate that the intense labeling of the external plexiform layer of the olfactory bulb in autoradiographic studies of insulin binding can be attributed to insulin receptors on dendrodendritic synaptic membranes in this region.