This study was aimed at in vivo characterisation of the possible role of dopamine receptors in the modulation of adrenaline release from the adrenal medulla in rats. Quinpirole (0.3, 1 and 3 mg/kg s.c., 30 min), an agonist at dopamine D2-like receptors induced a statistically significant increase not only in adrenal dopamine but also in plasma and heart adrenaline levels. The effects of the lowest dose of quinpirole were blocked by domperidone (5 mg/kg s.c., 150 min). Implantation of catheters followed by blood sampling appeared to be a stressful procedure, inducing itself an elevation of adrenal dopamine and of heart adrenaline by 100 and 250%, respectively. To explore the possibility of determining the plasma levels of adrenaline without blood sampling, regression modelling was performed by means of partial least squares regression (PLS) using treatment and levels of heart adrenaline and adrenal dopamine as predictor variables. The selected variables were found to be good predictors of plasma adrenaline levels. Accordingly, the increase in adrenal dopamine and heart adrenaline levels following administration of the dopamine autoreceptor agonist, talipexole, and the classical non-selective dopamine receptor agonist, apomorphine, were interpreted as indicators of the increased adrenomedullary adrenaline release. Neither of the dopamine D2 receptor antagonists used, i.e. domperidone, supposed to have only peripheral effects, nor raclopride, had significant effects on adrenal dopamine and heart adrenaline. Our results support the presence of peripherally located dopamine D2-like receptors, capable of acutely stimulating not only the synthesis of catecholamines, but also the release of adrenaline from adrenals in the conscious rat.