Stress compromises reproductive function and the major physiological system activated during stress is the hypothalamo-pituitary-adrenal axis. Corticotrophin-releasing hormone and arginine vasopressin (AVP), which are produced in neurones of the paraventricular nucleus (PVN), drive the hypothalamo-pituitary-adrenal axis and are also implicated in the suppression of the reproductive axis. We used retrograde tracing and Fos labelling to map the projections from the PVN to the preoptic area (POA) where most gonadotrophin releasing hormone (GnRH) neurones are found. Fluorogold (FG) injections were made into the POA of gonadectomised male and female sheep (n = 5/sex), the animals were stressed and the brains recovered for histochemistry. All animals responded to stress with an increase in the number of Fos-labelled nuclei in the PVN. Few retrogradely labelled cells of the PVN were activated by stress. Dual labelling showed that very few FG-labelled cells also stained for corticotrophin-releasing hormone, none for AVP or enkephalin. Dual labelling for FG and Fos in the bed nucleus of the stria terminalis (BNST) and the arcuate nucleus showed that no FG-labelled cells in the BNST and only few in the ARC were activated by stress. No sex differences were observed in the activation of FG-labelled cells in any of the nuclei examined. We conclude that, although cells of the PVN, BNST and/or arcuate nucleus may affect reproduction via the GnRH cells of the POA, this is unlikely to involve direct input to the POA. If cells of these regions are involved in GnRH suppression during stress, this may occur via interneuronal pathways.