Urotensin II is a cyclic dodecapeptide that was originally isolated from the fish urophysis, the terminus of a neurosecretory system located in the caudal area of the spinal cord. We have recently isolated and characterized urotensin II in the brain of a tetrapod, the frog Rana ridibunda. Recent reports, suggesting that urotensin II may stimulate cortisol secretion in fish, prompted us to investigate the possible effects of fish and frog urotensin II on corticosteroid secretion in amphibians. Exposure of perifused frog adrenal slices to goby (Gillichthys mirabilis) urophysis extracts induced a marked stimulation of corticosterone and aldosterone secretion. In contrast, at concentrations ranging from 10(-10) to 10(-6) M, synthetic goby urotensin II had no effect on corticosteroid production. Similarly, infusion of synthetic frog urotensin II (10(-10) to 10(-6) M) did not modify the spontaneous release of corticosterone and aldosterone. In addition, frog urotensin II had no effect on ACTH- and angiotensin II-induced secretion of corticosteroids. These results show that in frog, urotensin II does not modulate spontaneous and ACTH- or angiotensin II-evoked adrenal steroidogenesis.