The regulation of dopamine accumulation in cultured rat hypothalamic cells by adenosine 3',5'-cyclic monophosphate (cAMP) was investigated in cultures of newborn rat hypothalamic cells. Both dibutyryl cAMP, (Bu)2-cAMP, and forskolin enhanced [3H]dopamine accumulation in a dose-dependent manner. cAMP also enhanced [3H]dopamine accumulation, but to a lesser degree. Neither n-butyrate nor adenosine alone enhanced [3H]dopamine accumulation. (Bu)2-cAMP had no effect on basal efflux of [3H]radioactivity. The effect of (Bu)2-cAMP appeared on day 5 of culture, reached a maximum on day 6, and then rapidly decreased. These results suggest that dopamine uptake by cultured rat hypothalamic cells is regulated by intracellular cAMP.