Pituitary adenylate cyclase-activating polypeptide (PACAP) was recently demonstrated to stimulate melatonin synthesis in the rat pineal gland. Circadian rhythms of melatonin concentration are well known. However, it has not been clarified whether PACAP contents in the pineal gland show circadian rhythm. In this study, we measured PACAP contents in the rat pineal gland throughout the day under 12:12 h light-dark cycle or constant dark conditions. A significant fluctuation was observed in the PACAP content under light-dark conditions but not under constant darkness. On the other hand, the pituitary gland showed no significant variation throughout the day under either conditions. These observations suggest that PACAP may participate in the modulation of melatonin synthesis depending on light conditions in the pineal gland.