1. The effects of isoprenaline, a forskolin derivative NKH-477, and dibutyryl cyclic AMP (db cyclic AMP) on the membrane potential, conductance and cell volume of the dog non-pigmented ciliary epithelium (NPE) were investigated by intracellular potential recording, nystatin-perforated patch clamp technique and videomicroscopic cytometry. 2. The resting membrane potential of NPE was about -70 mV in physiological saline and was depolarized by isoprenaline in a dose-dependent manner with an ED50 of about 3 nM. This depolarization was competitively antagonized by the beta-adrenoceptor antagonist, timolol (pA2 = ca. 9) and almost completely blocked by the Cl transport blocker, DIDS. 3. In single dissociated NPE cells, 10 microM isoprenaline induced an inward current and caused a concomitant decrease in cell volume. The reversal potential measurement indicated that this inward current was carried mainly by Cl ion. DIDS (10 microM) abolished both the current and cell volume decrease. 4. NKH-477 (10 microM) or db cyclic AMP (1 mM) also induced an inward current together with a cell volume decrease, the properties of which were similar to those caused by isoprenaline. 5. These results suggest that beta-adrenoceptor stimulation in NPE leads to an increased rate of aqueous humour production by increasing Cl- efflux via an elevation of cyclic AMP and this effect is efficiently blocked by timolol.