The distribution of neuropeptide Y-like immunoreactivity in the rat brain and spinal cord was investigated by means of the peroxidase-antiperoxidase procedure of Sternberger using a rabbit anti-neuropeptide Y serum. A widespread distribution of immunostained cells and fibres was detected with moderate to large numbers of cells in the following regions: olfactory bulb, anterior olfactory nucleus, olfactory tubercle, striatum, nucleus accumbens, all parts of the neocortex and the corpus callosum, septum including the anterior hippocampal rudiment, ventral pallidum, horizontal limb of the diagonal band, amygdaloid complex. Ammon's horn, dentate gyrus, subiculum, pre- and parasubiculum, lateral thalamic nucleus (intergeniculate leaflet), bed nucleus of the stria terminalis, medial preoptic area, lateral hypothalamus, mediobasal hypothalamus, supramammillary nucleus, pericentral and external nuclei of the inferior colliculus, interpeduncular nucleus, periaqueductal central gray, locus coeruleus, dorsal tegmental nucleus of Gudden, lateral superior olive, lateral reticular nucleus, medial longitudinal fasciculus, prepositus hypoglossal nucleus, nucleus of the solitary tract and spinal nucleus of the trigeminal nerve. In the spinal cord cells were found in the substantia gelatinosa at all levels, the dorsolateral funiculus and dorsal gray commissure in lumbosacral cord. The pattern of staining was found to be similar to that observed with antisera to avian and bovine pancreatic polypeptide, but to differ in some respects from that observed with antisera to molluscan cardioexcitatory peptide. The presence of neuropeptide Y immunoreactive fibres in tracts such as the corpus callosum, anterior commissure, lateral olfactory tract, fimbria, medial corticohypothalamic tract, medial forebrain bundle, stria terminalis, dorsal periventricular bundle and other periventricular areas, indicated that in addition to the localisation of neuropeptide Y-like peptide(s) in interneurons in the forebrain, neuropeptide Y may be found in long neuronal pathways throughout the brain.