1. Cyclic AMP accumulation has been measured in whole human sweat glands. The mean rate in glands from 19 subjects was 0.519 ± 0.316 pmol of cyclic AMP formed 5 min−1 μg−1 of DNA, which is comparable with that reported for other tissues.
2. Cyclic AMP accumulation in the sweat gland is stimulated fourfold by prostaglandin (PG) E1 and fivefold by PGE2 (0.1 mmol/l), in accord with stimulation in renal tubules and medullary membranes.
3. Bradykinin (10 μg/ml) increases the rate threefold and this is substantially prevented by indomethacin (1.5 × 10−5 mol/l), as also is a five-fold stimulation by cyclic GMP (10−5 mol/l).
4. Mecholyl (10−2 mol/l) and isoprenaline (6 × 10−6 mol/l) increase the rate five- and four-fold respectively, and these agonist effects are largely abolished by atropine and propranolol.
5. The stimulation and inhibition pattern suggests a direct action of PGE, enhancement of prostaglandin synthetase by cyclic GMP and stimulation of guanylate cyclase by mecholyl and bradykinin. Isoprenaline presumably stimulates adenylate cyclase directly.
6. This complex chain of events, from cholinergic stimulation to an enhancement of adenylate cyclase, demonstrated in vitro, constitutes a potential for flexible and fine control of sweat gland function.