Effect of nitric oxide (NO) on striatal acetylcholine (ACh) release induced by N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) was investigated in freely moving rats by means of microdialysis. NMDA caused a significant increase in ACh release in the striatum, which was blocked by the specific NMDA receptor antagonists, (+/-)-3-(2-carboxypiperazin-4-yl)-propyl-1-phosphonic acid (CPP) and (+)-5-methyl-10,11-dihydro-5H-dibenzo[a,d]cyclohepten-5,10-imine hydrogen maleate (MK-801), indicating that agonist-evoked increase in ACh release in the striatum was through an NMDA receptor-mediated mechanism. NG-monomethyl-L-arginine acetate salt (L-NMMA; a NO synthase inhibitor) facilitated NMDA-evoked increase in ACh release, while L-arginine (the precursor of NO) inhibited the ACh release. The increase by L-NMMA of ACh release induced by the NMDA was also blocked by L-arginine. These results suggest that NO induced by NMDA receptor-mediated mechanism in cholinergic neurons may mediate an inhibitory regulation of ACh release.