Résumé : 1. We have devised a radioimmunoassay for atrial natriueretic factor (ANF). Its application to rat brain extract led to the discovery of ANF in the brain. In addition to the hypothalamus and the pontine medullary region, it was widely distributed. 2. ANF in the brain is stored in a low molecular weight form, in contrast to pro-ANF in the atria. Thus, the processing of pro-ANF in the bran neuronal cells is different from that in the atria. 3. ANF was found in the anterior and posterior lobes of the pituitary, the peripheral ganglia, adrenergic neurons, and the adrenal medulla. 4. Brain ANF suppressed stimulated dipsogenesis, basal and stimulated vasopressin release, and angiotensin II-stimulated pressor effects. 5. ANF in the peripheral neuronal system inhibits catecholamine synthesis and release. Thus, central ANF functions to reduce the peripheral fluid volume and vascular tone in concert with the peripheral ANF.