Regulation of vasopressin (VP) and oxytocin (OT) secretion involves integration of neural signals from hypothalamic osmoreceptors, ascending catecholaminergic and peptidergic cell groups in the brain stem, and local and autoregulatory afferents. Neuropeptide Y (NPY) is one factor that stimulates the release of VP and OT from the supraoptic (SON) and paraventricular nuclei of the hypothalamus via activation of Y1 receptors (Y1R). The current studies were designed to assess the regulation and distribution of NPY Y1R expression in the SON of male rats that were either given 2% NaCl drinking water (24-72 h) or water deprived (48 h). Subjecting male rats to these conditions resulted in significant increases in both the number of cells expressing Y1R immunoreactivity (ir) and the amount of Y1R protein per cell within the SON. Y1R immunoreactivity was increased in the magnocellular but not medial parvocellular paraventricular nuclei, and Y1R mRNA levels were increased in the SON of salt-loaded rats. Subpopulations of both VP and OT cells in the hypothalamus express Y1R immunoreactivity and a greater percentage of VP-ir cells express Y1R after salt loading. To control for potential effects of dehydration-induced anorexia, a group of euhydrate animals was pair fed with animals consuming 2% NaCl. No detectable change in Y1R expression was observed in the SON of pair-fed animals, even though body weights were significantly lower than controls. These data demonstrate that NPY Y1R gene and protein expression are increased in the SON of salt-loaded and water-deprived animals and provide a mechanism whereby NPY can support VP/OT release during prolonged challenges to fluid homeostasis.