Glycine receptors have been localized by autoradiography in the rat central nervous system (CNS) using [3H]strychnine. The gross distribution of receptors is in excellent accord with the distribution determined by filtration binding assays. Specifically, the density of glycine receptors is greatest in the gray matter of the spinal cord and decreases progressively in regions more rostral in the neuraxis. Glycine receptors were found to be associated with both sensory and motor systems in the CNS. Moreover, there is a striking correlation between areas of high strychnine binding site density and areas in which glycine has been found to be electrophysiologically active. Finally, the anatomic localization of strychnine binding sites may help explain many of the signs and symptoms of strychnine ingestion. For example, individuals consuming subconvulsive doses of strychnine frequently experience altered cutaneous and auditory sensation. We have localized strychnine receptors in areas of the acoustic system known to influence discriminative aspects of audition and in areas of the spinal cord and trigeminal nuclei which modulate discriminative aspects of cutaneous sensation. The alteration of visceral functions (e.g., blood pressure and respiratory rate) associated with strychnine ingestion may be accounted for in a similar manner.