Immunofluorescent staining for neuropeptide Y (NPY) in canine pancreatic tissue was performed together with an evaluation of the effects of synthetic NPY on the release of insulin (IRI), glucagon (IRG) and somatostatin (SLI) from the duodenal lobe of the canine pancreas in situ. NPY-like immunoreactivity was localized in perivascular nerve fibers throughout the acinar tissue. NPY-immunoreactive fibers were also demonstrated in the islets, usually surrounding blood vessels but also occasionally in fibers associated with endocrine cells, primarily at the periphery of islets. In addition, the ganglia dispersed in the pancreatic parenchyma were densely innervated by NPY-immunoreactive fibers, and these ganglia regularly contained cell bodies staining for NPY. Direct infusion of NPY into the pancreatic artery (p.a.) produced a dose-dependent decrease of pancreatic SLI output and of pancreatic venous blood flow. Low-dose p.a. infusion of NPY (50 pmol/min) had no effect on basal IRI or IRG output or on the islet response to glucose (5-g bolus, i.v.). High-dose p.a. infusion of NPY (500 pmol/min) transiently stimulated IRI output and modestly increased IRG output. However, the comparatively sparse innervation of canine islets with NPY-like immunoreactive fibers and the relatively minor effects of large doses of synthetic NPY on pancreatic hormone release lead us to conclude that this peptide is not an important neuromodulator of islet function in the dog.