The expression of the two members of the dystrobrevin (DB) family in the adult brain was thought to be highly specific for the two main cell types: alpha-dystrobrevin (alpha-DB) and beta-dystrobrevin (beta-DB) has been identified as glial and neuronal proteins, respectively. In the present work we show that a subset of neurons in the hypothalamus contains alpha-DB. Comparative immunohistochemical studies with two alpha-DB antibodies of different specificity indicate that the neurons contain short alpha-DB isoform(s) alpha-DB-2 and/or alpha-DB-4. Immunoreactive multipolar or spindle-shaped neurons form clusters with bilateral symmetry, localized predominantly in the lateral hypothalamic area, with extensions into the zona incerta and the dorso-medial and ventro-medial hypothalamic region. alpha-DB immunoreactivity was localized in cell processes and at postsynaptic densities, furthermore in the endoplasmic reticulum within the perikarya. alpha-DB-positive neurons are beta-dystrobrevin immunoreactive, but alpha- and beta-DB do not co-localize with their usual molecular anchors like dystrophins or high molecular weight forms of utrophin. Colocalization with nNOS was also not observed. The pattern of alpha-DB immunoreactive neurons gave a perfect colocalization with melanin-concentrating hormone (MCH) neurons throughout the whole region studied. We propose that alpha-DB plays a role in a structure or regulation mechanism unique to MCH-expressing neurons.