The effect of opioid peptides and morphine on histamine-induced catecholamine secretion has been studied in monolayer cultures of dispersed, bovine adrenal chromaffin cells. Histamine-induced a dose-dependent secretion of both adrenaline and noradrenaline with a threshold dose of approximately 5 nM, an EC50 of 150 nM and maximal secretion at 10 microM. Catecholamine secretion induced by 1 microM histamine was completely dependent on extracellular calcium, was inhibited in a dose-dependent manner by mepyramine (1 nM-1 microM), and was unaffected by cimetidine (10 microM) and hexamethonium (0.1 mM). Dynorphin-1-13 (1 nM-20 microM), metorphamide (0.1 nM-10 microM), morphine (1 nM-0.1 mM) and diprenorphine (1 nM-0.1 mM) each had no effect on adrenaline or noradrenaline secretion induced by 1 microM histamine. The characteristics of histamine-induced catecholamine secretion from bovine adrenal chromaffin cells were similar to those reported previously for cat and rat adrenal medulla being calcium-dependent and mediated by H1 histamine-receptors. The results with opioid peptides and morphine suggest that endogenous adrenal opioid peptides do not act on the opioid binding sites found on adrenal medullary chromaffin cells to modify their secretory response to histamine.