Leptin is an adipose tissue-derived hormone that regulates body weight via interactions with hypothalamic neuronal circuitries expressing specific leptin receptors (Ob-R). The Ob-Rs act via the JAK-STAT (Janus kinase-signal transducers and activators of transcription) pathway of signal transduction. Recent evidence suggests that primarily the transcription factor STAT3 mediates leptin’s action in the hypothalamus. We have investigated the presence and cellular localization of STAT3 protein in the rat hypothalamus by means of indirect immunofluorescence histochemistry using a rabbit polyclonal STAT3 antiserum. The antiserum identified a 92-kDa protein using Western blotting on rat hypothalamic homogenates, corresponding to the expected size of STAT3. STAT3 immunoreactivity was demonstrated in Ob-R-containing neurons of the paraventricular nucleus (parvocellular part), periventricular nucleus, arcuate nucleus and in the lateral hypothalamic area. Direct double-labeling showed presence of STAT3 immunoreactivity in neuropeptide Y (NPY)-containing neurons of the ventromedial part of the arcuate nucleus and in proopiomelanocortin (POMC)-containing neurons of the ventrolateral part of the arcuate nucleus. The results provide an anatomical basis for a leptin action mediated by STAT3 in Ob-R-containing NPY and POMC neurons of the arcuate nucleus, as well as by Ob-R-containing neurons of the parvocellular paraventricular nucleus and lateral hypothalamic area.