Thyronamines are naturally occurring, chemical relatives of thyroid hormone. Systemic administration of synthetic 3-iodothyronamine (T(1)AM) and - to a lesser extent - thyronamine (T(0)AM), leads to acute bradycardia, hypothermia, decreased metabolic rate, and hyperglycemia. This profile led us to hypothesize that the central nervous system is among the principal targets of thyronamines. We investigated whether a low dose i.c.v. infusion of synthetic thyronamines recapitulates the changes in glucose metabolism that occur following i.p. thyronamine administration. Plasma glucose, glucoregulatory hormones, and endogenous glucose production (EGP) using stable isotope dilution were monitored in rats before and 120 min after an i.p. (50 mg/kg) or i.c.v. (0.5 mg/kg) bolus infusion of T(1)AM, T(0)AM, or vehicle. To identify the peripheral effects of centrally administered thyronamines, drug-naive rats were also infused intravenously with low dose (0.5 mg/kg) thyronamines. Systemic T(1)AM rapidly increased EGP and plasma glucose, increased plasma glucagon, and corticosterone, but failed to change plasma insulin. Compared with i.p.-administered T(1)AM, a 100-fold lower dose administered centrally induced a more pronounced acute EGP increase and hyperglucagonemia while plasma insulin tended to decrease. Both systemic and central infusions of T(0)AM caused smaller increases in EGP, plasma glucose, and glucagon compared with T(1)AM. Neither T(1)AM nor T(0)AM influenced any of these parameters upon low dose i.v. administration. We conclude that central administration of low-dose thyronamines suffices to induce the acute alterations in glucoregulatory hormones and glucose metabolism following systemic thyronamine infusion. Our data indicate that thyronamines can act centrally to modulate glucose metabolism.