This study aimed at determining whether in vitro secretion of two neuropeptides, arginine vasotocin (AVT) and isotocin (IT), from pituitary cells of gilthead sea bream Sparus aurata was affected by cortisol and urotensin (UI). Pituitary cells were exposed to 1·4 × 10−8, 1·4 × 10−7 and 0·4 × 10−6 M cortisol and 10−12, 10−10 and 10−8 M UI for 6, 24 and 48 h, respectively. AVT and IT contents were determined in the culture media by high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC). An increase in AVT secretion and a decrease in IT secretion were observed at all cortisol doses. UI increased AVT secretion after 6 h of incubation at all doses. After 24 h, however, only the highest dose of UI still displayed an effect. IT secretion was not influenced by UI. It was thus demonstrated that cortisol does influence AVT and IT secretion from S. aurata pituitary cells, while UI regulates AVT secretion, as a component of hypothalamic–pituitary–interrenal (HPI) axis in this species.