We have established a differential peptide display method, based on a mass spectrometric technique, to detect peptides that show semiquantitative changes in the neurointermediate lobe (NIL) of individual rats subjected to salt-loading. We employed matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization mass spectrometry, using a single-reference peptide in combination with careful scanning of the whole crystal rim of the matrix-analyte preparation, to detect in a semiquantitative manner the molecular ions present in the unfractionated NIL homogenate. Comparison of the mass spectra generated from NIL homogenates of salt-loaded and control rats revealed a selective and significant decrease in the intensities of several molecular ion species of the NIL homogenates from salt-loaded rats. These ion species, which have masses that correspond to the masses of oxytocin, vasopressin, neurophysins, and an unidentified putative peptide, were subsequently chemically characterized. We confirmed that the decreased molecular ion species are peptides derived exclusively from propressophysin and prooxyphysin (i.e., oxytocin, vasopressin, and various neurophysins). The putative peptide is carboxyl-terminal glycopeptide. The carbohydrate moiety of the latter peptide was determined by electrospray tandem MS as bisected biantennary Hex3HexNAc5Fuc. This posttranslational modification accounts for the mass difference between the predicted mass of the peptide based on cDNA studies and the measured mass of the mature peptide.