Information on the distribution and biology of the G-protein coupled receptor 4 (GPR4) in the brain is limited. It is currently thought that GPR4 couples to Gs proteins and may mediate central respiratory sensitivity to CO2. Using a knock-in mouse model, abundant GPR4 expression was detected in the cerebrovascular endothelium and neurones of dorsal raphe, retro-trapezoidal nucleus locus coeruleus and lateral septum. A similar distribution was confirmed using RNAscope in situ hybridisation. In HEK293 cells, overexpressing GPR4, it was highly constitutively active at neutral pH with little further increase in cAMP towards acidic pH. The GPR4 antagonist NE 52-QQ57 effectively blocked GPR4-mediated cAMP accumulation (IC50 26.8 nM in HEK293 cells). In HUVEC which natively express GPR4, physiological acidification (pH 7.4–7.0) resulted in a cAMP increase by ∼55% which was completely prevented by 1 μM NE 52-QQ57. The main extracellular organic acid, L-lactic acid (LL; 1–10 mM), suppressed pH dependent activation of GPR4 in HEK293 and HUVEC cells, suggesting allosteric negative modulation. In unanaesthetised mice and rats, NE 52-QQ57 (20 mg kg−1) reduced ventilatory response to 5 and 10% CO2. In anaesthetised rats, systemic administration of NE 52-QQ57 (up to 20 mg kg−1) had no effect on hemodynamics, cerebral blood flow and blood oxygen level dependent responses. Central administration of NE 52-QQ57 (1 mM) in vagotomised anaesthetised rats did not affect CO2-induced respiratory responses. Our results indicate that GPR4 is expressed by multiple neuronal populations and endothelium and that its pH sensitivity is affected by level of expression and LL. NE 52-QQ57 blunts hypercapnic response to CO2 but this effect is absent under anaesthesia, possibly due to the inhibitory effect of LL on GPR4.