Tuberomammillary neurons in the posterior hypothalamus are the sole source of neuronal histamine in adult mammalian brain. In the rat, these cells are reported to contain immunoreactivity for gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) and several neuropeptides. We compared the presence of these substances in the tuberomammillary cells of the rat, mouse, and guinea pig. In all three species, all histamine-immunoreactive neuronal cell bodies were positive for GABA. This suggests that GABAergic transmission may be important in tuberomammillary function. No cell bodies immunoreactive for thyrotropin releasing hormone (TRH) were found in the guinea pig or mouse tuberomammillary area. In contrast, about 14% of the histamine-immunoreactive tuberomammillary cells in the rat were TRH-positive. These cells were small or medium-sized and were located only in the medial part of the tuberomammillary complex. An antibody against porcine galanin stained about 45% of the tuberomammillary cell bodies in the rat and about 28% in the mouse, but none in the guinea pig. A large proportion of the cells in the rat and mouse, but none in the guinea pig, were positive for met-enkephalin-arg-phe. In contrast, all histamine-containing tuberomammillary cells in the guinea pig, but none in the rat or mouse, were immunoreactive for met-enkephalin. This may indicate a different expression of proenkephalin-derived peptides in the tuberomammillary neurons in these species. Some substance P-immunoreactive cell bodies were located in the tuberomammillary area in all three species. However, only 3% of the histamine-immunoreactive cell bodies in the rat and mouse but none in the guinea pig were substance P-positive. The neurochemical properties of the tuberomammillary nucleus that exhibited species commonality deserve to be studied neurochemically and electrophysiologically in order to determine the functional relevance of coexisting transmitters in this nucleus.