Immunoreactivity for vasoactive intestinal polypeptide has been localized in neurons in the guinea-pig ileum, colon and stomach. In the ileum, 2.5% of the nerve cell bodies of the myenteric plexus and 45% of those of the submucous plexus showed vasoactive intestinal polypeptide-like immunoreactivity. Varicose axons containing vasoactive intestinal polypeptide ramified amongst the nerve cell bodies of both plexuses and in some cases formed rings of varicosities around non-reactive nerve cells. Axons were traced from the myenteric plexus to the circular muscle and deep muscular plexus. There were numerous positive axons running in fine strands within the circular muscle, parallel to the muscle bundles. Axons containing vasoactive intestinal polypeptide were associated with mucosal blood vessels, but few supplied the vascular network of the submucosa; some immunoreactive axons also contributed to the periglandular plexus of the mucosa. There were no changes in the distribution of axons in the ileum after extrinsic denervation. The results are discussed in relation to the possible functional roles of neurons that contain vasoactive intestinal polypeptide in the intestine: the distribution of such nerve cells in the myenteric plexus and of axons in the circular muscle and sphincters is consistent with this polypeptide being a transmitter of enteric inhibitory neurons; it is also possible that vasoactive intestinal polypeptide is the enteric vasodilator transmitter.