The effects of intracerebroventricular (i.c.v.) injections of pertussis toxin were investigated on the inhibitory action of galanin on acetylcholine release and phosphoinositide breakdown stimulated by muscarinic agents in rat ventral hippocampus. Pertussis toxin (0.6 micrograms, i.c.v., 96 h) counteracted the in vitro inhibitory effect of galanin (3.1 nmol) on phosphoinositide breakdown stimulated by carbachol without altering the stimulatory action of the cholinergic agonist on signal transduction, in miniprisms from rat ventral hippocampus. Pertussis toxin also abolished the in vivo effect of galanin on scopolamine-stimulated acetylcholine release in vivo but did not affect basal acetylcholine release. The results indicate that pertussis toxin-sensitive G-protein(s) mediates the galanin receptor regulation of pre- and postsynaptic cholinergic functions in the ventral hippocampus.