The anterior pituitary (AP) has been shown to contain a wide variety of bioactive peptides: brain-gut peptides, growth factors, hypothalamic releasing factors, posterior lobe peptides, opioids, and various other peptides. The localization of most of these peptides was first established by immunocytochemical methods and some of the peptides were localized in identified cell types. Although intracellular localization of a peptide may be the consequence of internalization from the plasma compartment, there is evidence for local synthesis of most of these peptides in the AP based on the identification of their messenger-RNA (mRNA). In several cases the release of the peptide from the AP cell has been shown and regulation of synthesis, storage and release have also been described. Because the amount of most of the AP peptides is very low (except for POMC peptides and galanin), endocrine functions are not expected. There is more evidence for paracrine, autocrine, or intracrine roles in growth, differentiation, and regeneration, or in the control of hormone release. To demonstrate such functions, in vitro AP experiments have been designed to avoid the interference of hypothalamic or peripheral hormones. The strategy is first to show a direct effect of the peptide after adding it to the in vitro system and, secondly, to explore if the endogenous AP peptide has a similar action by using blockers of peptide receptors or antisera immunoneutralizing the peptide.