Nesfatin-1, a post-translational product of the nucleobindin-2 (NucB2) gene, is produced in several brain areas known to be important in neuroendocrine, autonomic and metabolic function, including the hypothalamus and medulla. The hallmark action of the peptide is its ability at picomole doses to inhibit food and water intake in rodents and, indeed, the effect on water intake is more pronounced than that on food intake. In preliminary studies, we observed a decrease in hypothalamic NucB2 expression in response to overnight water deprivation even when food was present, which reversed when water was returned to the animals. We therefore hypothesised that the effect of nesfatin-1 on water drinking was independent of its anorexigenic action. Indeed, rats administered nesfatin-1 i.c.v. consumed significantly less water than controls in response to a subsequent, dipsogenic dose of angiotensin II, or upon return of water bottles after 18 h of fluid restriction (food present), or in response to a hypertonic challenge. Pretreatment with an antisense oligonucleotide against nesfatin-1 significantly reduced levels of immunoreactive nesfatin-1 in the hypothalamic paraventricular nucleus and resulted in exaggerated drinking responses to angiotensin II. The results obtained in the present study suggest that locally produced nesfatin-1 may be an important component of the hypothalamic mechanisms controlling fluid and electrolyte homeostasis.