Prolactin-releasing peptide (PrRP) is a novel bioactive peptide, originally isolated from bovine hypothalamus by utilizing an orphan seven-transmembrane-domain receptor expressed in the human pituitary gland. In this paper, we analyzed the tissue distribution of rat and human PrRP and their receptor mRNAs by quantitative reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) and Northern blotting. In RT-PCR analysis, rat PrRP receptor mRNA was detected in the central nervous system, and the highest expression was detected in the pituitary gland. In addition, in situ hybridization revealed that rat PrRP receptor mRNA was highly expressed in the anterior lobe of the pituitary. On the other hand, rat PrRP mRNA was most abundantly expressed in the medulla oblongata, while significant levels of expression were widely detected in other tissues. In Northern blot analyses, human PrRP receptor mRNA was detected only in the pituitary gland among tissues examined. Human PrRP mRNA was detected in the medulla oblongata and in the pancreas. In contrast to the pattern of mRNA expression, the highest content of bioactive PrRP was found in the hypothalamus rather than the medulla oblongata in the rat brain, indicating that PrRP mRNA does not always parallel with mature PrRP in tissue distribution. The wide distribution of PrRP and its receptor suggests that they have various functions not only in the pituitary gland but also in the other tissues.