Three control point enzymes of the Embden-Meyerhof pathway, hexokinase (HK), phosphofructokinase (PFK) and pyruvate kinase (PK), have been measured in individual hypothalamic nuclei during the 5-day estrous cycle of adult rats by quantitative histochemical methods. PK levels, low during proestrus, rise to maximum activity during estrus; this rise is significantly greater than on all other days of the cycle in the lateral preoptic area (LP), ventromedial pars medialis (VMM) and pars lateralis (VML) and posterior hypothalamic (Post) nuclei. HK activity also rises from low proestrous levels during the cycle but, in contrast to PK, reaches maximum activity during diestrus-1 (D-l) or diestrus-2 (D-2). PFK showed variable changes during the estrous cycle with peaks occurring during estrus in some nuclei and during diestrus in others, but these changes were not significantly different. These metabolic changes occur in specific hypothalamic nuclei which have been shown by electrical stimulation, lesion production, stereotaxic hormone implantation and localization of luteinizing hormone-releasing factor experiments to have an important role in reproductive physiology and sexual behavior.