Brain-derived neurotrophic factor is a neurotrophin belonging to the nerve growth factor family, which is involved in the differentiation and survival of many types of neurons. It also participates in neuroprotection and neuronal plasticity in adult rats. Our previous studies showed that a single brain-derived neurotrophic factor injection modifies hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis activity in adult male rats. To investigate the effect of chronic brain-derived neurotrophic factor administration on some physiological parameters, adult rats were implanted with osmotic micro-pumps to deliver brain-derived neurotrophic factor continuously for 14 days in the lateral ventricle (12 microg/day/rat). mRNA levels were evaluated by in situ hybridization analysis, peptide contents and plasma hormone concentrations by radioimmunoassay. Animals were also equipped with telemetric transmitters to study locomotor activity and temperature rhythms modifications, since hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis is known to modulate these two parameters. Decreased body weight was used as a control of brain-derived neurotrophic factor access to hypothalamic areas as already documented. In the hypothalamus the continuous brain-derived neurotrophic factor treatment increases: (i) the mRNA steady state levels of corticotropin releasing hormone and arginin-vasopressin in the paraventricular nucleus, the supraoptic nucleus, and the suprachiasmatic nucleus; (ii) the surface of corticotropin releasing hormone and arginin-vasopressin mRNA signals in these nuclei as detected by in situ hybridization, and (iii) the corticotropin releasing hormone and arginin-vasopressin contents. The plasma concentrations of adrenocorticotropic hormone and corticosterone were decreased and increased, respectively. Finally, this treatment increased daily locomotor activity and temperature, and provoked some circadian perturbations. These results obtained after chronic brain-derived neurotrophic factor administration extend data on the brain-derived neurotrophic factor involvement in the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis regulation and illustrate its effects on the locomotor and temperature rhythms. They also allow demonstrating that the regulation of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis by brain-derived neurotrophic factor differs according to the brain-derived neurotrophic factor administration mode, i.e. acute injection or chronic administration.