Metabolic conditions affect hypothalamo-pituitary-adrenal responses to stressful stimuli. Here we examined effects of food deprivation, leptin and ghrelin upon noradrenaline release in the hypothalamic paraventricular nucleus (PVN) and plasma adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH) concentrations after stressful stimuli. Food deprivation augmented both noradrenaline release in the PVN and the increase in plasma ACTH concentration following electrical footshocks (FSs). An intracerebroventricular injection of leptin attenuated the increases in hypothalamic noradrenaline release and plasma ACTH concentrations after FSs, while ghrelin augmented these responses. These data suggest that leptin inhibits and ghrelin facilitates neuroendocrine stress responses via noradrenaline release and indicate that a decrease in leptin and an increase in ghrelin release after food deprivation might contribute to augmentation of stress-induced ACTH release in a fasting state.