Dynorphin, an opioid peptide whose functions are unknown, is found in brain, pituitary, and peripheral organs. Specific radioimmunoassays were used to measure dynorphin in the hypothalamus and pituitary, during the day and at night, as a function of food and water deprivation. Immunoreactive dynorphin was increased in the hypothalamus and decreased in the pituitary at night. Water deprivation led to more than 50 percent reduction in daytime levels of pituitary dynorphin and concomitant increases in hypothalamic dynorphin.