1. Experiments were designed to determine whether or not the putative promnesic drug S9977 (1,3,7-trimethyl 8-[3-(4-diethylaminocarbonyl-1-piperazinyl) 1-propyl]-3,7-dihydro (1H)2,6-purinedione hydrochloride) affects peripheral adrenergic neurotransmission. 2. Rings of canine saphenous veins (without endothelium) were suspended for isometric tension recording in conventional organ chambers filled with modified Krebs-Ringer bicarbonate solution. The adrenergic nerve endings were activated with electrical impulses (9 V, 2 msec, 0.25-8 Hz). 3. At 10(-5) M, S9977 significantly reduced the contraction to 0.25, 0.5 and 1 Hz. The compound did not affect the response to higher stimulation frequencies or to exogenous noradrenaline. The inhibitory effect of S9977 was prevented by methiothepin, and not affected by atropine or 8-phenyltheophylline. 4. Helical strips of canine saphenous veins were incubated with [3H]noradrenaline and suspended for superfusion and isometric tension recording. Under basal conditions, S9977 (10(-4) M) augmented, the total 3H-overflow which was due mainly to an augmented overflow of [3H]deoxyphenylglycol (DOPEG); the extraneuronal metabolites 3,4-dihydromandelic acid (DOMA) and 3-methoxy-4-hydroxymandelic acid (VMA) were reduced. 5. During electrical stimulation of the adrenergic nerves, S9977 (10(-4) M) augmented the total 3H-overflow but reduced the contractile response; the evoked overflow of [3H]noradrenaline was not significantly affected. 6. These experiments suggest that S9977 causes the displacement of noradrenaline from the adrenergic varicosities; most of the displaced transmitter is metabolized by intraneuronal monoamine oxidase before reaching the junctional cleft. In addition, S9977 exerts an inhibitory effect on the extraneuronal metabolism of catecholamines. S9977 does not inhibit the exocytotic release of the adrenergic neurotransmitter.