There is growing evidence that two, or possibly more, neurotransmitters can coexist within the same neurone. In particular, the presence of a peptide and a biogenic amine has been demonstrated in the same terminals of central and peripheral neurones. These findings have led to the hypothesis that neurotransmitters, coexisting within the same neurones, can interact at pre- or postsynaptic sites in a functionally coordinated manner. However, interactions between neurotransmitters contained in distinct neuronal systems terminating within the same region of the central nervous system (CNS) can be envisaged. We have examined this last possibility in the cerebral cortex, an area of the CNS where the two neurotransmitters vasoactive intestinal polypeptide and noradrenaline are contained in separate neuronal systems and where they both stimulate the formation of cyclic AMP. We report here that vasoactive intestinal polypeptide and noradrenaline act synergistically to stimulate the formation of cyclic AMP and that this synergistic interaction is antagonized by the specific alpha-adrenergic antagonist phentolamine.