The role of central adrenergic receptors in the control of vasopressin release was studied in the conscious rat. Norepinephrine (10 micrograms) and the alpha-1 agonist, phenylephrine (50 micrograms), administered intracerebroventricularly resulted in significant increases in the plasma vasopressin concentration and blood pressure. The alpha-2 agonist, BHT 933 (50 micrograms) and the beta agonist, isoproterenol (10 micrograms) both caused a significant decrease in the plasma vasopressin concentration with only small changes in blood pressure. The central administration of the alpha-1 antagonist corynanthine (20 micrograms) had no effect on the plasma vasopressin concentration; however, increases in plasma vasopressin levels were observed when either the alpha-2 antagonist yohimbine (20 micrograms) or the beta antagonist propranolol (20 micrograms) were given. It is concluded that central noradrenergic pathways may play an important role in the control of vasopressin release and that this control may involve alpha-1, alpha-2 and beta adrenoreceptors.