Studies conducted in several laboratories have shown primate glucocorticoid secretion to occur episodically. In light of the methodological, as well as physiological importance of this finding, the present study was undertaken to determine whether the rat corticosteroid secretion also occurs episodically. Female rats were outfitted with chronic intravenous cannulas, and 1 week later 200 units of heparin were injected through the implanted cannula and blood samples (0.3–0.4 ml) were collected from each rat every 10 min for 3h during the morning (06.00–10.00 h) or during the afternoon (16.00–19.00 h) (lights on from 05.00 to 19.00 h). Plasma corticosterone levels in cannulated rats showed fluctuations indicative of episodic secretion. The pattern of plasma corticosterone levels was characterized by periodic rapid increases in hormone concentration during both the morning and afternoon sampling periods; the occurrence of these hormonal fluctuations did not have a characteristic frequency. When the data were grouped to obtain single morning and afternoon values, the AM-PM difference was significant (p < 0.005). Collectively, these data suggest that in the rat, adrenal corticosteroids are secreted episodically.