Forskolin markedly stimulates striatal adenylate cyclase activity in a concentration-dependent manner, and at 10(-4) M produces an approximate 40-fold increase in enzyme activity above basal levels. Dopamine (in the presence of 100 nM SCH 23390), bromocryptine and quinpirole (LY 171555) significantly inhibit both basal and forskolin-stimulated adenylate cyclase activity. There is a significant increase in the absolute but not in the percent inhibition of enzyme activity by dopaminergic agonists as a function of forskolin concentration. This inhibition is agonist-concentration dependent and antagonized by the D2 antagonist, spiperone. These results suggest that forskolin may be used as a tool for amplifying the abolute D2-receptor-mediated inhibition of adenylate cyclase in rat striatal homogenates.