A new peripheral dopamine agonist which causes dopaminergic renal vasodilation, was tested for central dopaminergic activity. SK & F 38393 stimulated the dopamine-sensitive adenylate cyclase in homogenates of rat caudate, as a partial agonist, and caused contralateral rotation in rats with unilateral 6-OHDA lesions of substantia nigra. Rotation was shown to be due to a direct effect on supersensitive dopamine receptors. Stimulation of cAMP formation and rotation were blocked by dopamine antagonists. In contrast to other dopamine agonists, SK & F 38393 did not cause stereotypy, emesis or inhibition of prolactin release, nor did SK & F 38393 affect dopamine turnover. The results suggest that SK & F 38393 may selectively stimulate supersensitive central dopamine receptors in vivo or may activate only a certain subclass of dopamine receptors including the receptor in the renal vasculature and the adenylate cyclase coupled postsynaptic receptor in the caudate.