Adenosine caused a dose-dependent stimulation of adenylate cyclase in homogenates from rat striatum and tuberculum olfactorium (200 and 300% stimulation by 100 muM adenosine). The effect of adenosine was not antagonized by haloperidol. Subcellular fractionation suggested that adenosine stimulates a different adenylate cyclase than dopamine. Basal adenylate cyclase activity in freshly prepared homogenates was reduced by dialysis and by the addition of adenosine deaminase. Basal adenylate cyclase activity was enchanced by papaverine and dipyridamole, but reduced by theophylline and isobutylmethylxanthine. The results are compatible with the opinion that endogenous adenosine is capable of activating adenylate cyclase in these areas of the rat brain.