The release of catecholamines and cortisol from the perifused adrenal region and caudal vein of the eel (Anguilla rostrata) was compared with the release of 39 amino acids and related compounds. Dopamine, norepinephrine and epinephrine were present in all perifusates of the adrenal region. Dopamine release from the caudal vein exceeded that from the adrenal region, and norepinephrine and epinephrine were not detected. Cortisol was present in the perifusate of the adrenal region but virtually absent in caudal vein perifusate. Of the six substances with known or suspected neurotransmitter function, taurine, aspartate, glutamate, glycine and alanine were present in all or almost all samples from both the adrenal equivalent and the caudal vein, γ-aminobutyric acid (GABA) was detected in a few samples from either preparation. The release of taurine and phosphoethanolamine may be linked to that of norepinephrine and epinephrine. Adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH) enhanced the release of cortisol, aspartate, valine, leucine and ornithine from the adrenal region, but the release appears to be from differing sources or cellular pools. Overall, the study revealed that both the adrenal region and caudal vein release a large number of amino acids and related substances. The caudal vein, and possibly other blood vessels as well, may be a major source of circulating dopamine. © 1995.