- Administration of adenosine (Ado) into rat renal artery induces dose-dependent diuresis that is independent of changes in glomerular filtration rate or renal blood flow, suggesting a direct effect on tubule H2O reabsorption. To test the hypothesis that Ado modulates cellular action of arginine vasopressin (AVP) as a tubular mechanism for the diuretic effect of Ado, interaction of Ado with AVP was studied in primary cell culture of rat inner medullary collecting duct (IMCD) epithelium. Stimulation of cells with 10(-6) M AVP in presence of 0.1 mM Ro 20-1724, a nonmethylxanthine phosphodiesterase inhibitor that has no effect on Ado receptors, increased adenosine 3',5'-cyclic monophosphate (cAMP) levels twofold or more above baseline. Stimulation of cells with the A1 Ado-receptor agonist N6-cyclohexyladenosine (CHA), the A2-receptor agonist 5'-(N-ethylcarboxamido)-adenosine (NECA), or with the P-site agonist 2',5'-dideoxyadenosine (DDA) significantly inhibited the AVP-stimulated cAMP response. Preincubation with pertussis toxin abolished the inhibitory effects of CHA and NECA, but not of DDA. The data suggest that, in the rat IMCD, Ado modulates AVP action by interfering with its ability to stimulate formation of its second messenger, cAMP. This effect is mediated by the extracellular Ado receptors A1 and A2 and by the intracellular P-site. It occurs by at least two pathways, one sensitive and the other insensitive to pertussis toxin.