The effect of five phosphodiesterase (PDE) inhibitors (papaverine, IBMX, theophyllamine, dipyridamol and M & B 22,948) was studied on adenylate cyclase and on cyclic nucleotide phosphodiesterase activities in extracts of rat caudate nucleus. For comparison the effect on DA turnover and on turning behaviour in rats with unilateral lesions of the nigro-neostriatal DA nerurons was studied. Cyclic AMP PDE was inhibited by papaverine, dipyridamol, IBMX, M & B 22,948 and theophyllamine in that order of potency. Cylcic GMP PDE was inhibited by IBMX, papaverine, M & B 22,948 and theophyllamine, but not by dipyridamol. Basal adenylate cyclase washigher if assayed in the presence of papaverine or dipyridamol than if theophyllamine or IBMX was present. The degree of stimulation caused by DA was not significantly influenced by the PDE inhibitors. Papaverine and dipyridamol enhanced DA disappearance in the caudate nucleus and the tuberculum accumbens, but not in the median eminence. Caffeine had no significant effect. Papaverine (1-28 mg/kg) had no signigicant effect on L-dopa (5 mg/kg)-induced turning, and actually inhibited turning induced by the combination of L-dopa (10 mg/kg) and atropine (5 mg/kg). The other four PDE inhibitors all potentiated L-dopa-induced turning. Theophyllamine (20 mg/kg) and IBMX (5 mg/kg) even caused turning when given alone. The data are compatible with the opinion that PDE inhibition leads to an enhanced effect of DA in the caudate nucleus. However, the results also demonstrate that several of the PDE inhibitors have effects on central DA mechanisms that are difficult to explain solely on the basis of PED inhibition.