The neuropeptide galanin (GAL) has been found to elicit eating after injection into the hypothalamic paraventricular nucleus (PVN). To determine whether GAL's effect in the brain is anatomically specific, this peptide (0.1 or 0.3 nmol) was microinjected into one of 14 different brain areas of rats, and its impact on subsequent food intake was measured. Among the hypothalamic sites tested, only the PVN and the adjacent periventricular region yielded a significant eating response to GAL. With injection into the PVN, a feeding response was observed without apparent changes in other food-associated behaviors, e.g., drinking, grooming, resting and sleeping, or low and high levels of activity. All other hypothalamic and extrahypothalamic sites tested were unresponsive to GAL, with the exception of the amygdala where a significant eating response was observed. These findings suggest that central GAL elicits feeding by acting in an anatomically localized and behaviorally specific manner. In light of other pharmacological and anatomical evidence, it is suggested the PVN GAL, in modulating feeding behavior, may work in association with the catecholamine norepinephrine (NE) which is known to coexist with GAL in PVN neurons.