1. Synaptosomal membranes were isolated from rats made hypothyroid by treatment with propylthiouracil and a low iodine diet. 2. When assayed in the presence of 100 mM-Na+, inhibition of forskolin-stimulated adenylate cyclase by GTP was enhanced in membranes from hypothyroid animals. 3. Hypothyroidism also enhanced inhibition of adenylate cyclase by phenylisopropyladenosine (with 100 mM-Na+ and 10 microM-GTP present). 4. Hypothyroidism did not increase binding of the A1 adenosine receptor agonist phenylisopropyladenosine to synaptosomal membranes; rather, the maximum binding was slightly decreased without any change in the KD. 5. The effect of GTP in modifying the displacement of the antagonist [3H]diethylphenylxanthine from synaptosomal membranes by unlabelled phenylisopropyladenosine was more pronounced in the hypothyroid state. 6. These findings are consistent with hypothyroidism causing modification of the brain adenylate cyclase system at the level of the coupling protein Gi.