Activity-dependent neuroprotective protein (ADNP) is a highly conserved vasoactive intestinal peptide (VIP) responsive gene that is expressed abundantly in the brain and in the body and is essential for brain formation and embryonic development. Since, VIP exhibits sexual dimorphism in the hypothalamus, the potential differential expression of ADNP in male and female mice was investigated. Real-time polymerase chain reaction revealed sexual dimorphism in ADNP mRNA expression as well as fluctuations within the estrus cycle. Immunohistochemistry with an antibody to ADNP showed specific staining in the arcuate nucleus of the hypothalamus. ADNP-like immunoreactivity in the arcuate nucleus also exhibited fluctuations during the estrus cycle. Here, brain sections at proestrus were the most immunoreactive and brain sections at estrus--the least. Furthermore, male arcuate nucleus ADNP-like immunoreactivity was significantly lower than that of the female estrus. Many neuropeptides, neurotransmitters and proteins are localized to the arcuate nucleus where they contribute to the regulation of reproductive cyclicity and energy homeostasis. The results presented here suggest that ADNP has a part in the estrus cycle as an affecter or an effector.