1. The effect of different experimental conditions on electrical coupling between horizontal cells in the mudpuppy retina was studied by comparing the changes in responses to illumination of the central and peripheral portions of the receptive field, using centred spot and annulus stimuli. An increase in the amplitude of the response to a centred spot stimulus and a decrease in the amplitude of the response to a concentric annulus indicated a decrease in coupling, and vice versa. 2. Dopamine (10-250 microM) caused a decrease in coupling between horizontal cells. The uncoupling effect of dopamine was much greater in dark-adapted than in light-adapted retinas. The effect of the D1-receptor agonist SKF38393 was similar to that of dopamine. The effect of the D2-receptor agonist LY171555 on coupling was opposite to that of dopamine; this was attributed to a reduction in endogenous dopamine release. 3. The D1 antagonist SCH23390 (15 microM) caused an increase in coupling between horizontal cells. This effect was much greater in light-adapted than in dark-adapted retinas. 4. The glutamate analogue 2-amino-4-phosphonobutyrate (APB), which hyperpolarizes on-centre bipolar cells and blocks their responses to light, caused an increase in coupling between horizontal cells. This effect of APB was greater in light-adapted retinas than in dark-adapted retinas. The effect of APB on coupling could be reversed by the addition of dopamine, but the effect of dopamine on coupling could not be reversed by the addition of APB. These results suggest that APB increases horizontal cell coupling by causing a decrease in dopamine release. 5. In dark-adapted retinas, 2.5 min exposure to an adapting light caused a decrease in coupling between horizontal cells; the uncoupling effect of the adapting light was blocked in the presence of either SCH23390 or APB. 6. The results suggest that coupling between horizontal cells in the mudpuppy retina is decreased by dopamine acting at D1 receptors, that the release of dopamine affecting horizontal cells is greater under light-adapted conditions, and that the pathway by which exposure to light increases this dopamine release is mainly via on-centre bipolar cells.