Caffeine and other methylxanthines induce a dose-dependent reduction in core body temperature in mice. These experiments investigated the effects of neurotransmitter and neuromodulator antagonists on caffeine-induced hypothermia. Pretreatment with the alpha 2-adrenoceptor antagonist, atipamezole; the beta-adrenoceptor antagonist, propranolol; the dopamine antagonist, haloperidol; or the benzodiazepine receptor antagonist, flumazenil had no intrinsic effects on core body temperature nor did they interact significantly with the hypothermic effects of caffeine. The alpha 1-adrenoceptor antagonist, prazosin and the 5-HT receptor antagonist, metergoline significantly enhanced the hypothermic effects of caffeine, probably involving a combined effect with their intrinsic hypothermic actions. Pretreatment with the opiate receptor antagonist, naloxone (3 mg/kg i.p.), had no intrinsic effect on core body temperature but attenuated the hypothermic effect of caffeine reflected in a parallel shift to the right in the caffeine dose-effect curve. The naloxone-induced attenuation of the hypothermic effects of caffeine was also seen to be dose-dependent. The results reveal that opiate receptors (but not adrenoceptors, 5-HT, dopamine or benzodiazepine receptors) may play a role in modulating the hypothermic action of caffeine and possibly other methylxanthines.