Apelin, the endogenous peptide ligand of the APJ receptor, is expressed in brain regions implicated in food and water intake. This study reports for the first time, the effect of apelin-12, one of the most potent apelin peptides, on spontaneous (nocturnal) feeding. Randomised intracerebroventricular injection of 1, 3 and 10 nmol apelin-12 or saline vehicle, 10 min prior to lights out, led to dose-dependent reductions in food intake 2-4 h after injection (n = 7; p < 0.05). This suggests that apelin-12 exerts a delayed inhibitory effect on nocturnal feeding. Relative to saline, no effect was observed on total 24-h food intake post injection. In contrast, day-time administration of 10 nmol apelin-12 to satiated rats stimulated feeding (n = 5-11; p < 0.05); lower doses had no effect. No changes in water intake were observed after apelin-12. These results suggest that apelin is involved in the central control of feeding.