By means of radioimmunoassay, we studied the concentration of pituitary adenylate cyclase-activating polypeptide (PACAP)-like proteins in intact and regenerating earthworms. Transection of animals increased the concentration of PACAP-like compounds in coelomocytes, and a decreasing rostrocaudal gradient was detected in the regenerating animals. Western blot analysis revealed a range of PAC1-receptor proteins with molecular weights from 40 to 80 kDa. Electron microscopic immunocytochemistry showed that PAC1 receptors were located on distinct sets of coelomocytes (mainly on amebocytes and on some granulocytes). Based on our results we hypothesize a link between PACAP and coelomocytes, suggesting that PACAP modulates the function of amebocytes and certain granulocytes that play a role in tissue remodeling of regenerating earthworms.