Proteolytic processing of secretogranin II (chromogranin C) in brain leads to the formation of a 33-amino acid peptide which we have named secretoneurin. All the properties of secretoneurin are consistent with the concept that this peptide represents a neuropeptide. However, a biological function has not yet been demonstrated. Therefore, we have now investigated whether secretoneurin could alter transmitter release in brain. Slices of rat caudate-putamen were superfused in an in vitro system and dopamine was measured in the superfusate. Secretoneurin dose-dependently increased the outflow of dopamine. This response was abolished in Ca(2+)-free medium. The secretoneurin-response could also be blocked by preincubation of the peptide with a specific antiserum and was subject to rapid specific and reversible desensitization. This effect on dopamine release constitutes the first discovered biological effect found for a peptide derived from secretogranin II. Thus, secretoneurin can be added to the ever-growing number of neuropeptides.