Abstract: In the course of our studies, we have shown the presence of calcitonin gene related peptide (CGRP) by immunocytochemistry in cell bodies and nerve fibers of the murine thymus and in a sparce innervation of the spleen. Receptors for CGRP have been characterized within these glands, and their activation by physiological levels of CGRP was found to suppress Con A-stimulated proliferation of thymocytes and splenic T cells as well as antigen-specific T-cell proliferation. This suppression is blocked by the antagonist for CGRP (CGRP 8-37). Within the thymus cultures, the antagonist CGRP (8-37) alone enhanced proliferation of thymocytes during Con A stimulation, most likely by inhibiting the endogenous release of CGRP into the culture medium by resident thymocytes. Some of the CGRP-induced suppression of mitogenic stimulation of thymocytes, but not of splenocytes, was due to apoptosis. The antagonist, CGRP(8-37), did not block apoptosis caused by Con A or CGRP but rather enhanced it. Flow cytometric analysis of CGRP-treated cultures using antibodies to cluster determinates (CD) showed that the majority of thymocytes undergoing apoptosis induced by CGRP were of the CD4/CD8 double-positive type. These data indicate that apoptosis in the thymocytes is mediated by a CGRP receptor not sensitive to the antagonist CGRP(8-37). Because proliferation of thymocytes and splenocytes induced by Con A is blocked by this antagonist and splenocytes are refractory to CGRP induced apoptosis, CGRP appears to mediate at least two separate functions on subpopulations of thymocytes and T cells via two different CGRP receptors within the gland. These effects of a neuropeptide exemplify the phenomenon of differential regional regulation of immunity by the autonomic and neuroendocrine systems.