This study was undertaken to investigate the dose-response relationship between the biological effect and noise exposure, and to consider the mechanism of the appearance of noise effects. Rats were exposed to noise at intensities of 60 dB (A), 80 dB (A) and 100 dB (A) for 240 min and examined for the change of activities of dopamine-beta-hydroxylase (DBH) in serum and adrenal glands. Plasma cyclic adenosine 3',5'-monophosphate (c-AMP) levels were also measured. Some rats were given 6-hydroxydopamine (6-OHDA) as a chemical sympathectomyzing agent 20 h before noise exposure in order to consider the mechanism of the appearance of noise effects. By noise exposure, serum DBH activity was significantly (P less than 0.01) increased at each intensity compared with the control group, but there were no remarkable changes in adrenal DBH activity. Plasma c-AMP level was also significantly elevated in response to the noise stress. When the rats, which had been pretreated with 6-OHDA, were exposed to noise with an intensity of 100 dB (A), the response of serum DBH activity was no longer observed. Therefore it is suggested that the effect due to noise exposure appears through the post-ganglionic sympathetic nerve fiber.