Neurohypophyseal function was studied by hypertonic saline infusion with plasma vasopressin measurement in 3 patients with adrenal insufficiency before and after cortisol replacement. Although each patient had different causes of adrenal insufficiency, all showed impaired water excretion before replacement. The first patient with isolated adrenocorticotropin deficiency had marked hyponatremia and inappropriate vasopressin secretion which was normalized after replacement, indicating vasopressin hypersecretion during hypoadrenocorticism. The second patient had combined anterior and posterior pituitary deficiency due to postpartum hypopituitarism and showed completely absent vasopressin secretion, with her polyuria being masked before cortisol replacement, suggesting a vasopressin-independent intrarenal mechanism of antidiuresis. The third patient with panhypopituitarism due to a pituitary tumor also had preexisting diabetes insipidus with defective vasopressin secretion. In this case, however, plasma vasopressin was found to be elevated when adrenal insufficiency and hyponatremia subsequently developed. Together, these results indicate that vasopressin hypersecretion does occur during adrenal insufficiency, but that the accompanying urinary diluting defect may be attributable either to vasopressin-dependent or to vasopressin-independent mechanisms.