The role of adenosine as a possible physiological modulator was explored by measuring its concentration in different tissues during a 24-hour period. Initially the circadian variations of adenosine and other purine compounds such as inosine, hypoxanthine, uric acid and adenine nucleotides were studied in the rat blood. A daily cyclic response was observed, with low levels of adenosine from 08.00 - 20.00 h, followed by an increase from this time on. Inosine and hypoxanthine levels were elevated during the day and low at night. The uric acid changes observed indicate that the decrease in purine catabolism coincides with a decrease in inosine and hypoxanthine levels and an increase in adenosine. The blood adenine nucleotides, energy charge and phosphorylation potential remained constant during the day and showed oscillatory changes during the night. Similar studies were made in the liver, a primary source of circulating purines. Liver adenosine was high during the night while inosine and hypoxanthine remained low along the 24 hours. The results suggest that liver purine metabolism might participate in the maintenance and renewal of the blood purine pool and in the energy state of erythrocytes in vivo.