Magnocellular neurons in rat hypothalamic slices are known to exhibit dye coupling: the transfer of the fluorescent dye, Lucifer Yellow, from an intracellularly-injected neuron to one or more nearby neurons. The question of the hormonal identity of coupled cells and the possibility of dye coupling as an artefact led us to determine the immunoreactivity of dye-coupled magnocellular neurons in the paraventricular nucleus of the rat hypothalamus using antisera to oxytocin- and vasopressin- associated neurophysins. In 23 pairs, one triplet, and one quadruplet, immunoreactivity to one or the other antiserum was always exclusive, and dye coupling was always homotypic, that is, coupled neurons in each instance were reactive to the same antiserum. The quadruplet, triplet and 17 pairs were immunoreactive to vasopressin-associated neurophysin, and oxytoxin-associated neurophysin immunoreactivity was observed in the remaining pairs. Immunoreactivity to each antiserum was found for somasomatic and non somasomatic modes of coupling and for coupled neurons in the three magnocellular areas of the nucleus. A relationship between mode of coupling and hormone content was not detected. The data support the hypothesis that coupling is a real, functionally significant mechanism for coordinating neuronal activity in this nucleus, particularly under conditions of high hormone demand. They do not support the idea that coupling is artefact. The possibility of a relationship between hormone content and mode of coupling, and the projection pathway(s) of the coupled neurons of each type require further study. © 1985.