We used intracellular electrophysiological recording to study the actions of noradrenaline on myenteric neurons in the guinea pig gastric antrum. Noradrenaline caused a dose-dependent inhibition of the stimulus-evoked cholinergic fast excitatory postsynaptic potentials (EPSPs). Noradrenaline had no effect on the postsynaptic response to acetylcholine, suggesting a presynaptic site of action. The slow EPSP was also presynaptically inhibited by noradrenaline. In only 5% of the neurons, noradrenaline caused a postsynaptic depolarization, accompanied by increased input resistance and enhanced excitability. Studies with adrenergic antagonists and agonists revealed that the presynaptic inhibitory effect was mediated by an alpha 2-receptor, while the postsynaptic excitatory effect seemed to be mediated by an alpha 1 receptor. We conclude that noradrenaline inhibits neurotransmitter release from cholinergic and non-cholinergic nerve terminals in the myenteric plexus of the antrum and that it excites a subpopulation of antral neurons. Both mechanisms may contribute to the neurally mediated inhibitory action of noradrenaline on gastric contractility.