Striatum expresses a cholinergic system involved in the regulation of its activity and changes in striatal cholinergic receptors may be related to cognitive impairment. This study has investigated muscarinic cholinergic M1-M5 receptor subtype expression in striatum of Fischer 344 rats aged 6 (young), 15 (adult) and 22 months (senescent) to assess the contribution of different muscarinic cholinergic receptor subtypes in age-related changes of striatal cholinergic neurotransmission. Western blot analysis revealed the expression of the M1-M5 muscarinic receptor subtytpes in the striatum of rats of the three age groups investigated. Both radioligand binding assay and light microscope autoradiography showed in young rats a M4>M1>M2>M3>M5 rank order of receptor density. With the exception of M1 receptor, the density of which is similar in the dorsal (motor) and ventral (limbic) striatum, other receptor subtypes were more abundant in ventral than in dorsal striatum. M1 receptor expression was unchanged between young and adult rats and decreased in senescent animals both in dorsal and ventral striatum. In dorsal striatum M2 and M5 receptor expression did not show age-related changes, whereas in ventral striatum it was slightly decreased in adult rats compared to young or senescent cohorts. M3 receptor expression did not show age-related modifications, whereas a progressive age-related decrease of M4 receptor was found, both in dorsal and ventral striatum. These data indicate a heterogeneous response to age of different muscarinic receptor subtypes. Striatal cholinergic markers are thought to correlate with cognitive impairment in aged rats. In view of this, the identification of age-related changes of striatal muscarinic receptor subtypes may contribute to develop cholinergic strategies to counter cholinergic neurotransmission changes occurring with aging.