Corticotropin-releasing factor (CRF) injected into the brains of rats produces hyperglycemia and an increase in plasma concentrations of glucagon, epinephrine, and norepinephrine. Neither hypophysectomy nor adrenalectomy prevents CRF-induced hyperglycemia. However, a role of adrenal epinephrine release in mediating CRF-induced hyperglycemia is supported by the finding that the central nervous system-selective somatostatin analog, desAA1,2,4,5,12,13-[D-Trp8]somatostatin, totally prevents the elevation of plasma epinephrine and suppresses the rise of plasma glucose but does not alter the increase in plasma norepinephrine induced by CRF. Pretreatment with the ganglionic blocker chlorisondamine completely prevents the CRF-induced rises in plasma glucose, epinephrine, and norepinephrine. These results demonstrate that CRF acts within the brain to stimulate sympathetic outflow, which results in the development of hyperglycemia. In contrast to other peptides that act within the central nervous system, e.g. bombesin, TRF, and beta-endorphin, whose hyperglycemic actions depend exclusively on adrenal epinephrine secretion, CRF-induced hyperglycemia is secondary to the enhanced secretion of both epinephrine and norepinephrine.