Activity-dependent neuroprotective protein (ADNP, approximately 123562.8 Da), is synthesized in astrocytes and expression of ADNP mRNA is regulated by the neuroprotective peptide vasoactive intestinal peptide (VIP). The gene that encodes ADNP is conserved in human, rat and mouse, and contains a homeobox domain profile that includes a nuclear-export signal and a nuclear-localization signal. ADNP is essential for embryonic brain development, and NAP, an eight-amino acid peptide that is derived from ADNP, confers potent neuroprotection. Here, we investigate the subcellular localization of ADNP through cell fractionation, gel electrophoresis, immunoblotting and immunocytochemistry using alpha-CNAP, an antibody directed to the neuroprotective NAP fragment that constitutes part of an N-terminal epitope of ADNP. Recombinant ADNP was used as a competitive ligand to measure antibody specificity. ADNP-like immunoreactivity was found in the nuclear cell fraction of astrocytes and in the cytoplasm. In the cytoplasm, ADNP-like immunoreactivity colocalized with tubulin-like immunoreactivity and with microtubular structures, but not with actin microfilaments. Because microtubules are key components of developing neurons and brain, possible interaction between tubulin and ADNP might indicate a functional correlate to the role of ADNP in the brain. In addition, ADNP-like immunoreactivity in the extracellular milieu of astrocytes increased by approximately 1.4 fold after incubation of the astrocytes with VIP. VIP is known to cause astrocytes to secrete neuroprotective/neurotrophic factors, and we suggest that ADNP constitutes part of this VIP-stimulated protective milieu.