Endogenous cyclic AMP levels and the activities of adenylate cyclase, cyclic AMP-dependent and independent protein kinases were examined in testes of mature rats bilaterally vasectomized for one, three and seven months. Although no significant alteration in testicular cyclic AMP was detected one month following vasectomy, marked decreases (by 55% and 32%, respectively) were seen three and seven months postvasectomy. Likewise, vasectomy also resulted in a significant decrease (by 25%) in the activity of testicular adenylate cyclase three and seven months after vasectomy. Although soluble cyclic AMP-dependent protein kinase activity remained unaffected three months postvasectomy, the activity of the cyclic nucleotide-dependent enzyme was significantly increased (by 21%) when compared to the sham-operated controls. Furthermore, while the protein kinase ratio (--cyclic AMP/+cyclic AMP) was decreased in animals vasectomized for three months, the ability of the enzyme to bind (3H) cyclic AMP in vitro was significantly enhanced (18%). Rats vasectomized for seven months showed similar biochemical alterations but the effects of this procedure were more pronounced. Moreover, while short-term vasectomy increased the responsiveness of seminiferous tubular adenylate cyclase to in vitro stimulation by follicle stimulating hormone, the activity of the enzyme was also increased (by 100%) in the presence of luteinizing hormone in vasectomized rats. These data raise the possibility that changes in testicular function seen following vasectomy may be related to the alterations in cyclic AMP metabolism as well as in the sensitivity of testicular adenylate cyclase to regulation by gonadotropins.