To understand the possible role of melatonin receptors in the development of renal and immune functions, age-related variations of 2-[125I]iodomelatonin binding sites in the chicken kidney and spleen were investigated by radioreceptor assay. Chickens at embryonic day 20, as well as 2 days, 9 days, 2 weeks, 6 weeks, 12 weeks, and 16 weeks after hatching, were kept under a 12 h light: 12 h dark photoperiod and killed at the middle of the light period. Binding sites for 2-[125I]iodomelatonin in membrane preparations of the chicken kidney and spleen were present on embryonic day 20. The maximum binding densities (Bmax) in the kidney increased to a peak between 9 days and 2 weeks of age, then progressively decreased. Bmaxvalues of 2-[125I]iodomelatonin binding sites in the chicken spleen were lower than in the kidney. The peak density in the chicken spleen was recorded at day 2 after hatching and decreased significantly after 6 weeks of age. There were no significant differences in binding affinities (Kd) in kidney and spleen of chicken in the different age groups studied. The unity of Hill coefficients of 2-[125I]iodomelatonin binding sites of the chicken kidney and spleen in all age groups tested suggested that only a single class of binding sites was present in these tissues during development. It is proposed that the developmental changes in 2-[125I]iodomelatonin binding sites in the chicken kidney and spleen may be pertinent to the development of diurnal rhythms of kidney functions and the post-pubertal decline in immune functions of the chicken.Key words: melatonin receptor, renal system, immune system, pineal gland, development, age-related change.