The recently discovered neuropeptides orexin A and B regulate feeding behavior, neuroendocrine and autonomic functions, and sleep-wakefulness by central mechanisms. The expression of orexins and orexin receptors in various peripheral organs and the presence of orexin A in blood indicate the existence of a peripheral orexin system. In rat and human adrenal glands, both OX 1 and OX2 receptor subtypes have been described with a predominant expression of OX2 receptors in the adrenal cortex. In male rats, adrenocortical OX2 receptors are much higher expressed than in female rats. Various experimental data demonstrate a stimulatory effect of orexins on the secretion of adrenocortical steroids, mainly on glucocorticoids. Some results also suggest the regulation of catecholamine synthesis and release by orexins. Whether the gender-dependent expression of adrenocortical OX2 receptors has functional correlates awaits future clarification. As plasma orexin appears to rise during hunger and hypoglycemia, orexins may link adrenal functions with energy homeostasis.