Regional distribution of immunoreactive somatostatin (IRS) and melatonin were investigated in the bovine pineal gland. The total IRS and melatonin content ranged from 0.26 to 2.28 pmol, and from 19.4 to 42.7 pmol, respectively, for bovine pineal. Reverse phase liquid chromatography of pineal extracts demonstrated that more than 90% of IRS coeluted with synthesis somatostatin-14 and somatostatin-28. While the IRS content was shown to vary considerably throughout the gland, with a constant and marked maximal concentration at the proximal end of the pineal, the maximal melatonin concentration appeared in the central part of the gland, coinciding with the total protein distribution. The existence of the highest levels of pineal IRS near the habenular commissure, where the afferent fibers of the central pinealopetal innervation enter the gland, suggests that pineal somatostatin may be, at least in part, of neural origin.