Analysis of knockout mice suggests that the neurotropin-inducible secreted polypeptide VGF (non-acronymic) plays an important role in the regulation of energy balance. VGF is synthesized by neurons in the central and peripheral nervous systems (CNS, PNS), as well as in the adult pituitary, adrenal medulla, endocrine cells of the stomach and pancreatic beta cells. Thus VGF, like cholecystokinin, leptin, ghrelin and other peptide hormones that have been shown to regulate feeding and energy expenditure, is synthesized in both the gut and the brain. Although detailed developmental studies of VGF localization in the CNS and PNS have been completed, little is known about the ontogeny of VGF expression in endocrine and neuro-endocrine tissues. Here, we report that VGF mRNA is detectable as early as embryonic day 15.5 in the developing rat gastrointestinal and esophageal lumen, pancreas, adrenal, and pituitary, and we further demonstrate that VGF mRNA is synthesized in the gravid rat uterus, together supporting possible functional roles for this polypeptide outside the nervous system and in the enteric plexus.