Immunoreactive atrial natriuretic factor- (ANF-)positive nerve fibers and cell bodies were observed in the preoptic area, hypothalamus, mesencephalon, and pons of rats. In colchicine-treated animals a large number of immunoreactive ANF-positive cell bodies were seen in the organum vasculosum of the lamina terminalis, in several hypothalamic nuclei (e.g. periventricular, arcuate, and ventral premammillary nuclei), and in the dorsolateral tegmental nuclei of the pons. Varicose nerve fibers containing ANF were generally observed in the vicinity of the cells. These findings indicate that a widespread network of ANF-containing neurons is present in the brain.