This study describes the expression of the pituitary adenylate cyclase-activating polypeptide (PACAP1 and PACAP2) and PAC1 receptor genes (PAC1a-R and PAC1b-R) in the brain of zebrafish (Danio rerio) during development. In situ hybridization of the 24- and 48-hpf embryos revealed that PACAP genes were expressed in the telencephalon, the diencephalon, the rhombencephalon, and the neurons in the dorsal part of the spinal cord. PACAP2 mRNA appears to be the most abundant form during brain development. The two PAC1-R subtypes showed a similar expression pattern: mRNAs were detected in the forebrain, the thalamus, and the rhombencephalon. However, in the tectum, only PAC1b-R gene was detected. These results suggest that, in fish, PACAP may play a role in brain development.