Abstract: Diazepam binding inhibitor (DBI), a peptide located in CNS neurons, blocks the binding of benzodiaze-pines and β-carbolines to the allosteric modulatory sites of γ-aminobutyric acid (GABAA) receptors. Subcellular frac-tionation studies of rat brain indicate that DBI is compartmentalized. DBI-like immunoreactivity is highly enriched in synaptosomes obtained by differential centrifugation in isotonic sucrose followed by a Percoll gradient. In synapto-somal lysate, DBI-like immunoreactivity is primarily associated with synaptic vesicles partially purified by differential centrifugation and continuous sucrose gradient. Depolarization induced by high K+ levels (50 mM) or veratridine (50 μM) released DBI stored in neurons of superfused slices of hypothalamus, hippocampus, striatum, and cerebral cortex. The high K+ level-induced release is Ca2+ dependent, and the release induced by veratridine is blocked by 1.7 μM tetrodotoxin. Depolarization released GABA and Met5-enkephalin-Arg6-Phe7 together with DBI. DBI is also released by veratridine depolarization, in a tetrodotoxin-sen-sitive fashion, from primary cultures of cerebral cortical neurons, but not from cortical astrocytes. Depolarization fails to release DBI from slices of liver and other peripheral organs. These data support the view that DBI may be released as a putative neuromodulatory substance from rat brain neurons.