The distribution of neuropeptide Y (NPY) immunoreactivity has been studied by means of immunocytochemistry and radioimmunoassay in the brain of the goldfish. It was found that NPY had a widespread distribution in the entire brain in particular in the telencephalon, diencephalon, optic tectum and rhombencephalon. In the pituitary gland, positive type-B fibers were observed in the various lobes frequently in direct contact with secretory cells, in particular the gonadotrophs, somatotrophs and MSH (melanocyte-stimulating hormone) secreting cells. When measured by radioimmunoassay, the highest NPY concentrations were found in the pituitary and telencephalon, confirming the results of immunocytochemistry. The displacement curves obtained with serial dilutions of brain extracts were parallel to that of synthetic porcine NPY. Following high performance liquid chromatography, the NPY-like material extracted from goldfish brain co-eluted as a single peak with synthetic porcine NPY. These data demonstrate the presence of an NPY-like substance widely distributed in the goldfish brain. The observation of NPY-immunoreactive fibers in the pituitary gland suggests that, among its other functions, NPY may play a role in the neuroendocrine regulation of pituitary function.