The present study examined the expression pattern of FOS in the hypothalamic peptide neurons during the sleep-dominant state induced by an adenosine A2A receptor agonist. The control rats, those that received the microdialysis-perfusion of their ventral striatum with artificial cerebrospinal fluid in the dark-active phase, spent 24% of the 90-min period prior to sacrifice in non-rapid eye movement (non-REM) sleep and 2.3% of that in REM sleep. These rats exhibited FOS, a transcription factor, in 21% of their orexin neurons and in 1.0% of their melanin-concentrating hormone (MCH) neurons in the perifornical/lateral hypothalamic areas. However, the rats perfused with 50 μM CGS21680, an adenosine A2A receptor agonist, spent 60% of the 90-min period prior to sacrifice in non-REM sleep and 11% of that in REM sleep. These rats exhibited FOS in 1.7% of their orexin neurons and FOS in 0.5% of their MCH neurons. When the sleep-dominant state was disturbed by mild stimulation and the rats were kept in the sleepy state by treatment with a sleep-inducing dose of CGS21680, the rats exhibited FOS in 13.3% of their orexin neurons, which percentage was about half of that for the control rats. These results suggest that the sleep-promoting process induced by this adenosine A2A receptor agonist was associated with a decline in the activity of orexin neurons. MCH neurons are not likely to change their activities during this sleep-promoting process.