Studies concerning the development of the magnocellular system are scarce and discordant in literature. We carried out an immunohistochemical study on supraotic and paraventricular hypothalamic nuclei using antivasopressin and antioxytocin antibodies in developing rats between the 15th day of intrauterine life and the 6th day of postnatal life. In addition, we performed RT-PCR experiments to establish the stage at which these hormones appear and neurosecretory activity commences. The results showed that supraoptic and paraventricular nuclei appear, respectively, on the 16th and the 18th day of intrauterine life and both immediately synthetize vasopressin neurohormone. By contrast, synthesis of oxytocin takes place from the 2nd day after birth. Probably, these nuclei synthetize oxytocin in conjunction with the decline of placental maternal oxytocin.