Derivatives of adamantane, like memantine, are potentially neuroprotective drugs for the favourable care of Alzheimer's and Parkinson's diseases. A further adamantane derivate is N-(2-adamantyl)-N-(para-bromophenyl)-amine (ladasten) which is capable to modulate animal performance in different learning paradigms. To clarify if some of those behavioural alterations are mediated by modulation of catecholamine syntheses we studied the effects of single administration of ladasten (50 mg/kg, per os) on catecholamines' biosynthesis in the ventral tegmental area, nucleus accumbens, hypothalamus, striatum and hippocampus. We found that ladasten differentially regulates tyrosine hydroxylase mRNA and protein as well as dopamine and L-DOPA content. We then investigated the effects of ladasten on activity-dependent hippocampal synaptic plasticity in vitro and found that application of 10 microM ladasten transforms short-term potentiation of synaptic transmission to a long-lasting form. A transformation of short-term into long-term potentiation was also observed, when ladasten was applied 40 min after a single 100 Hz 200 ms tetanization. This reinforcement was blocked by the protein synthesis inhibitor anisomycin and could be attenuated by the D1/D5 receptor antagonist SCH23390. These results suggest that ladasten induces reinforcement of short-term potentiation via protein synthesis and dopamine dependent mechanisms.