Arginine vasopressin (AVP), synthesized in hypothalamic neurons, is transported in axons either to the pituitary for release into the circulation or to different brain areas. In our previous experiments we documented central antipyretic AVP pathways from the hypothalamus to the ventrolateral septal area in the limbic system. In the present study we investigated if osmotic stimulation is able to activate peripheral and central release of AVP concurrently and if the antipyretic pathways are influenced by this kind of stimulation. In dehydrated animals (24 h water deprivation) the arterial blood plasma level of AVP doubled causing antidiuretic effects. Also the concentration of AVP in push-pull perfusates of the limbic septal area was significantly higher in dehydrated (5.6 pg AVP/ml perfusate) than in control animals (2.6 pg AVP/ml perfusate). The febrile response to bacterial endotoxin was reduced by 50% in dehydrated guinea pigs compared to controls, statistically significant between 30 and 180 min after pyrogen application. A microinfusion of AVP antiserum into the limbic septal area enhanced the fever reaction of dehydrated guinea pigs compared to the effects of a microinfused preimmune serum, in this case statistically significant between 180 and 360 min after application. From these data we assume a simultaneous activation of peripheral and central release of AVP with antidiuretic and antipyretic effects by dehydration.