This study evaluated the effect of parasympathetic agonists and antagonists on immunoreactive (i) PTH secretion in vitro and on serum iPTH in vivo in rats. In in vitro studies pilocarpine or bethanechol significantly inhibited PTH secretion. This inhibition was blocked by the simultaneous addition of atropine to the incubation medium. In in vivo studies, the cholinergic agonists pilocarpine and bethanechol and the cholinergic antagonist atropine were administered to rats by IV infusion. Blood was obtained before and again after two hours of infusion for analysis of iPTH. Pilocarpine or bethanechol significantly decreased serum iPTH. This inhibition by either agent was blocked by the simultaneous administration of atropine. Administration of atropine alone significantly increased serum iPTH above baseline. This stimulation of basal serum iPTH by parasympathetic blockade suggests that even basal PTH secretion may be influenced by endogenous parasympathetic tone. Therefore, the following conclusions were reached: (1) parasympathetic influences inhibit PTH secretion, and (2) endogenous parasympathetic tone may be an inhibitory modulator of basal secretion of PTH.