This review concentrates on the pharmacological properties and the regional distribution of the arginine vasopressin (AVP) and oxytocin (OT) receptors that are present in the central nervous system. Of particular interest are the kinetics and the pharmacological profiles of these receptors that resemble those present at the periphery. However, their transduction mechanisms need to be further investigated. This should be rendered easier by molecular biology technology. The current knowledge of the anatomical distribution of AVP and OT receptors in the brain is reviewed. Also of great interest for double labeling studies will be the receptor antibodies, now being developed. The existence of additional receptors (AVP4-9) is examined, and aspects of the regulation of the receptors' expression in relation to the age, the species, and the hormonal status or following injury are also discussed.