Effects of intracellularly applied L-arginine and nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide phosphate (NADPH) on the dark voltage and light responses of retinal rods were studied by means of the whole-cell patch-clamp technique. In this mode an exchange of substances by diffusion between cytosol and pipette medium occurs (Pflügers Arch., 411 (1988) 204-211). In retinal rods a loss of nucleotides is reflected by a hyperpolarization of the dark voltage and by a prolongation of the light responses (Vis. Neurosci., 2 (1989) 101-108). Intracellular application of L-arginine prevented the prolongation of the light responses and NADPH accelerated the light response recovery and in addition depolarized the photoreceptor cells. The effects were similar to those observed before upon application of the nitric oxide (NO)-releasing substance sodium nitroprusside (Vis. Neurosci., 9 (1992) 205-209). It is therefore assumed that the observed effects are linked to the NO-synthase and to an activation of a guanylate cyclase by NO. It is concluded that the level of NADPH in photoreceptor cells may affect the metabolic flux of guanosine 3',5'-cyclic monophosphate (cGMP).