Pituitary adenylate cyclase-activating peptide (PACAP) is a vasoactive intestinal peptide (VIP)-like peptide recently isolated from ovine hypothalami. Nerve fibers displaying PACAP immunoreactivity were found in the respiratory tract of rats, guinea pigs, ferrets, pigs, sheep and squirrel monkeys. A moderate supply of PACAP-immunoreactive fibers was seen in the nasal mucosa of guinea pigs. Few to moderate numbers of PACAP-containing fibers occurred in the tracheo-bronchial wall of rats, guinea pigs, ferrets, pigs, sheep and squirrel monkeys. The fibers were distributed beneath the epithelium, around blood vessels and seromucous glands, and among bundles of smooth muscle. In the lungs, the immunoreactive fibers were observed close to small bronchioli. A few PACAP-immunoreactive nerve cell bodies were seen in the sphenopalatine and otic ganglia of guinea pigs. Simultaneous double immunostaining of the respiratory tract of sheep and ferrets revealed that all PACAP-containing nerve fibers stored VIP. We suggest that neuronal PACAP may take part in the regulation of smooth muscle tone and glandular secretion.