In this study, we examined the effect of passive immunization of endogenous corticotropin-releasing factor (CRF) and arginine vasopressin (AVP) on hypoglycemia-induced adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH) secretion and determined proopiomelanocortin messenger RNA (POMC mRNA) levels in the anterior pituitary as well as hypothalamic CRF mRNA levels in pentobarbital anesthetized rats. The response of plasma ACTH to hypoglycemia was partially inhibited by the administration of CRF-antiserum (CRF-As) or AVP-antiserum (AVP-As) alone, but was found to be completely abolished by the administration of CRF-As + AVP-As as compared to the response in normal rabbit serum-treated rats. The hypoglycemia-induced POMC mRNA level in the anterior pituitary was completely inhibited by the administration of CRF-As alone and CRF-As + AVP-As, but was not inhibited by AVP-As alone as compared to the response in normal rabbit serum-treated rats. The administration of CRF-As and/or AVP-As did not affect hypoglycemia-induced CRF mRNA levels in the hypothalamus. These results indicate that the synergistic effect of CRF and AVP is important for hypoglycemia-induced ACTH secretion, but CRF is essential and indispensable for hypoglycemia-induced POMC gene expression in the anterior pituitary (AP).