Abstract The activities of periventricular-hypophysial dopaminergic (DA) neurons were compared in male and female rats by measuring dopamine synthesis (accumulation of 3,4-dihydroxyphenylalanine [DOPA] after inhibition of L-aromatic amino acid decarboxylase) and metabolism (concentrations of 3,4-dihydroxyphenylacetic acid [DOPAC]) in terminals of these neurons in the intermediate lobe of the pituitary. For comparison, the synthesis and metabolism of dopamine in the neural lobe of the pituitary and median eminence were also determined. The concentrations of DOPAC and accumulation of DOPA were higher in females than in males in both the intermediate lobe and median eminence, revealing a sexual difference in the basal activity of periventricular-hypophysial and tuberoinfundibular DA neurons. In contrast, there were no differences between male and female rats in activity of DA neurons terminating in the neural lobe. One week following gonadectomy, DOPA accumulation in the median eminence was decreased in females and increased in males, but remained unchanged in the intermediate lobe. These results indicate that sexual differences in the activity of periventricular-hypophysial DA neurons terminating in the intermediate lobe are not dependent upon the presence of circulating gonadal steroids, and in this respect, these neurons differ from tuberoinfundibular DA neurons.