Experiments were performed to determine if the distribution of vasoactive intestinal peptide(VIP)-like immunoreactivity in nerve cell bodies and axons of the myenteric plexus and circular muscle of the small intestine is consistent with VIP being the transmitter of enteric inhibitory neurons. Immunoreactivity for VIP was found in nerve cell bodies of the myenteric plexus and in axons within the myenteric plexus and circular muscle. When the axons in the myenteric plexus were interrupted, there was accumulation of material showing reactivity for VIP on the oral side, indicating that the neurons project in an anal direction. The VIP-like immunoreactivity in axons which supply the circular muscle disappeared after a myectomy in which the overlying myenteric plexus was removed, but remained intact when extrinsic nerves were served. The projections of VIP neurons from the myenteric plexus to the circular muscle correspond to the expected projections of enteric inhibitory neurons determined by functional studies.