The effect of atrial natriuretic peptide (ANP), arginine vasopressin (AVP), and oxytocin (OT) on cAMP and cGMP accumulation was investigated in LLC-PK1 kidney epithelial cells. The addition of ANP, AVP, and OT to intact cells produced a time- and concentration-dependent increase in cGMP accumulation. ANP produced a 1.7-fold increase in cGMP at 10 pM and a maximal 28-fold increase in cGMP at 1 μM. ANP had no effect on basal or AVP-induced stimulation of cAMP accumulation. OT was 10-fold more potent than AVP at increasing cGMP levels, producing a 2.1-fold increase in cGMP at 0.1 nM, whereas AVP was 100-fold more potent at increasing cAMP levels. At a concentration of 1 μM, AVP and OT produced a maximal 12 to 14-fold increase in cGMP, while OT and AVP produced 50- and 90-fold increase in cAMP, respectively. The selective OT agonist [Thr4, Gly7] oxytocin was very effective at increasing cGMP, but not at increasing cAMP levels. The V2- vasopressin agonist [deamino-Pen1, Val4D-Arg8]vasopressin did not increase cGMP levels, but produced a 20-fold increase in cAMP levels. The addition of ANP together with either AVP or OT produced an additive increase in cGMP content. Simultaneous addition of AVP and OT did not lead to a greater increase in cAMP or cGMP levels. These results suggest that the AVPand OT-induced increase in cGMP is mediated by OT receptors, whereas the increase in cAMP is probably mediated by vasopressin receptors. ANP increased the activity of particulate guanylate cyclase by 6-fold, while AVP and OT has no effect on particulate guanylate cyclase activity. The relatively selective inhibitor of soluble guanylate cyclase, methylene blue, had no effect on the ANP-induced increase in cGMP content in intact cells, but produced a 50% inhibition of the increase in cGMP by AVP and OT. Methylene blue did not alter the stimulation of cAMP by AVP or OT. These results demonstrate that ANP, AVP, and OT increase cGMP in LLC-PKi kidney epithelial cells. The increase in cGMP by ANP is mediated by particulate guanylate cyclase, whereas AVP and OT probably increase cGMP by interacting with OT receptors coupled to soluble guanylate cyclase.