Tetrodotoxin (TTX) was used to (1) distinguish between axonal and dendritic/ somatic release of vasopressin (VP) and oxytocin (OT) within the supraoptic nucleus (SON) and (2) to determine whether neuronal inputs trigger intranuclear peptide release in the response to osmotic stimulation. Microdialysis was used to administer TTX (10<sup>-6</sup> M or 10<sup>–4</sup> M) bilaterally into the SON with simultaneous monitoring of central and peripheral peptide release and mean arterial pressure in urethane-anesthetized male rats. Osmotic stimuli were given via the microdialysis probe (1 M NaCl-artificial CSF) or injected intraperitoneally (3.5 M NaCl; 600 µl/100 g b.w.) SON perfusion with TTX did not alter basal intranuclear VP or OT release or the intranuclear peptide response to direct NaCl stimulation of the SON. However, TTX treatment abolished the effect of peripheral osmotic stimulation on central peptide release. Basal plasma peptide levels were significantly reduced by TTX, e.g. decreases of 94.8 and 75.8% for VP and OT, respectively. TTX also blocked the peripheral endocrine and cardiovascular reponses to both modes of osmotic stimulation. The TTX insensitivity of directly stimulated intranuclear release suggests non-synaptic peptide release from dendrites and/or cell bodies. The ability of TTX to abolish the central peptide response to systemic osmotic stimulation demonstrates that intranuclear release is a part of a cascade produced by osmotic activation of multisynaptic pathways.