Neuropeptide Y is a co-transmitter that is synthesized by chromaffin cells in the adrenal medulla. During the fight-or-flight response these cells release NPY in addition to epinephrine and norepinephrine. Following the stress-induced reflex, the levels of NPY are increased as part of a homeostatic response that modulates catecholaminergic signaling. Here, we examined the control of NPY expression in mice after brief exposure to the cold water forced swim test. This treatment led to a shift in NPY expression between two populations of chromaffin cells that reversed over the course of 1 week. When NPY(GFP) BAC transgenic animals were exposed to stress, there was an increase in cytoplasmic, non-secretable GFP, indicating that stress increased NPY promoter activity. In vivo blockage of Y2 (but not Y1 or Y5) receptors increased basal adrenal NPY expression and so modulated the effects of stress. We conclude that release of NPY mediates a negative feedback loop that inhibits its own expression. Thus, the levels of NPY are determined by a balance between the potentiating effects of stress and the tonic inhibitory actions of Y2 receptors. This may be an efficient way to ensure the levels of this modulator do not decline following intense sympathetic activity.