Cyclic AMP accumulation elicited by noradrenaline was determined in cerebral cortical slices of rats 24 h after an application of weak anodal direct current (anodal polarization) to the surface of the sensorimotor cortex. Noradrenaline-elicited accumulation of cyclic AMP was altered regionally by the anodal polarization in relation to the duration and intensity of the polarizing current. The cyclic AMP accumulation elicited by noradrenaline was highest in the left anterior cortical region including the polarized point under polarization conditions of 0.3 microA for 1.5 h and 3.0 microA for 30 min. Under these two polarization conditions, the cyclic AMP accumulation elicited by noradrenaline was higher than that in the non-polarized control in the same cortical region. Furthermore, the beta-adrenergic antagonist propranolol almost completely reduced the elicited accumulation of cyclic AMP by noradrenaline to the control level. These results suggest that anodal polarization enhances activity of noradrenaline-sensitive cyclic AMP generating systems through beta-adrenergic mechanisms as a function of both duration and intensity in the cerebral cortex and that one polarization event has a long-lasting aftereffect on noradrenaline-sensitive cyclic AMP generating systems in the cerebral cortex.