Abstract The effect of noradrenaline (NA) injection (20 or 40 nmol) into the preoptic area (POA) on plasma glucose and insulin was studied in male and female rats. The rats were implanted with chronic jugular catheters for blood sampling and unilateral intracerebral cannulas placed just above the POA. Blood samples were taken before and at 5, 10, 15, 30 and 60 min after NA injection. As early as 5 min after NA injection, plasma glucose levels rose rapidly in both male and female rats, reaching a peak at 15 min poststimulus. NA injection into the POA caused a dose-dependent hyperglycemic response in both male and female rats, although the response was more intense and longer lasting in females than in males. However, NA injection into the POA induced an increase in plasma insulin concentration in male but not in female rats. In addition, the increase in plasma glucose induced by 40 nmol NA injection in males preceded that of insulin. Plasma levels of glucose after POA injection of NA were already significantly elevated ( p<0.01) within the first experimental interval (5 min), whereas a plasma insulin increase were first detected 15 min post injection. We conclude that, when administered locally into the POA, NA can activate the sympathetic outflow expressed by a neurally mediated hyperglycemia which is more intense in females than in males. These data demonstrate that the POA has a sexually differentiated function in the regulation of glycemia.