Somato‐dendritic secretion was first demonstrated over 30 years ago. However, although its existence has become widely accepted, the function of somato‐dendritic secretion is still not completely understood. Hypothalamic magnocellular neurosecretory cells were among the first neuronal phenotypes in which somato‐dendritic secretion was demonstrated and are among the neurones for which the functions of somato‐dendritic secretion are best characterised. These neurones secrete the neuropeptides, vasopressin and oxytocin, in an orthograde manner from their axons in the posterior pituitary gland into the blood circulation to regulate body fluid balance and reproductive physiology. Retrograde somato‐dendritic secretion of vasopressin and oxytocin modulates the activity of the neurones from which they are secreted, as well as the activity of neighbouring populations of neurones, to provide intra‐ and inter‐population signals that coordinate the endocrine and autonomic responses for the control of peripheral physiology. Somato‐dendritic vasopressin and oxytocin have also been proposed to act as hormone‐like signals in the brain. There is some evidence that somato‐dendritic secretion from magnocellular neurosecretory cells modulates the activity of neurones beyond their local environment where there are no vasopressin‐ or oxytocin‐containing axons but, to date, there is no conclusive evidence for, or against, hormone‐like signalling throughout the brain, although it is difficult to imagine that the levels of vasopressin found throughout the brain could be underpinned by release from relatively sparse axon terminal fields. The generation of data to resolve this issue remains a priority for the field.