Neuropeptide Y (NPY) is a 36 amino acid peptide with potent cardiovascular effects. In the present study, intraventricular injection of NPY was shown to markedly stimulate feeding and drinking during the illuminated period of the light/dark cycle, a time when rats ingest small amounts of food. It also enhanced nocturnal food and water intake following a 24 hour period of food deprivation and during nocturnal feeding. The NPY induction of food intake was suppressed by the opiate antagonist, naloxone, and by the dopamine antagonist, haloperidol. Phentolamine, an alpha adrenergic antagonist, failed to suppress NPY-induced feeding. Based on the maximum quantity of food which was ingested following central administration of NPY, this peptide appears to represent one of the most potent stimulators of feeding yet to be described.