The release of oxytocin into the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) and plasma of lactating goats was studied following implantation of cisternal and lateral ventricular cannulae. Hand milking was associated with a significant increase in plasma concentrations of oxytocin, but no change in plasma concentrations of vasopressin or CSF concentrations of oxytocin. Intracerebroventricular (i.c.v.) infusion of oxytocin itself (1 pmol/min for 60 min) had no effect on basal plasma levels of oxytocin. It did, however, markedly potentiate the milking-induced increase in plasma oxytocin above the levels achieved during i.c.v. infusion of artificial CSF alone. In the goat, therefore, milking results in a selective release of oxytocin into the plasma, and this release can be potentiated by the presence of increased concentrations of oxytocin in the CSF.