Methylglyoxal bis(guanyl hydrazone) (MGBG) and the related diamidine compounds berenil and pentamidine inhibited multiplication of A. culbertsoni. The growth inhibition by MGBG (2.5 mM) in the peptone medium was accompanied by the disappearance of spermidine and a marked reduction in the level of diaminopropane. MGBG and berenil completely inhibited growth in a chemically defined medium at 1 mM and 1-2 microM concentration, respectively. However, there was no decrease in the polyamine levels in the early stages of growth inhibition by these agents. Uptake of putrescine, spermidine and spermine by A. culbertsoni has been demonstrated but addition of exogenous polyamines did not reverse the growth inhibitory action of MGBG and berenil. Inhibition of S-adenosylmethionine decarboxylase and decrease in polyamine synthesis do not seem to be the primary targets for the antiamoebic action of MGBG and berenil.