Intracisternal injection of ovine corticotropin-releasing factor (CRF) into the pylorus-ligated rat or the rat with gastric fistula resulted in a dose-dependent inhibition of gastric secretion stimulated with pentagastrin or thyrotropin-releasing hormone. When injected into the lateral hypothalamus--but not when injected into the cerebral cortex--CRF suppressed pentagastrin-stimulated acid secretion. The inhibitory effect of CRF was blocked by vagotomy and adrenalectomy but not by hypophysectomy or naloxone treatment. These results indicate that CRF acts within the brain to inhibit gastric acid secretion through vagal and adrenal mechanisms and not through hypophysiotropic effects.