We previously reported evidence for H3-receptor inhibition of cholinergic stimulation of acid secretion by isolated rabbit gastric glands. Because this inhibition was unsensitive to H2 antagonists, we postulated that the parietal cell should bear a H3-receptor. In the present study, we investigated the effects of M1-M3 muscarinic receptors antagonists on carbachol- and thioperamide-induced acid secretion (14CAP uptake) by isolated rabbit gastric glands. Furthermore, we examined whether H3-receptor ligands could affect [3H]-N-methylscopolamine binding to the isolated rabbit parietal cells. Both carbachol and thioperamide concentration-dependently stimulated 14CAP uptake in the glands with maximal responses being achieved for 100 microM and 0.1 microM, respectively. These stimulations were concentration-dependently inhibited by the H3-receptor agonists R(alpha)-methylhistamine and imetit. Maximal inhibitions did not exceed 60% for 1 microM. The muscarinic receptor antagonists, hexa-sila-difenidol p-fluoro analog (M3), pirenzepine (M1) and gallamine (M2) inhibited carbachol-induced 14CAP uptake with IC50 of 50 nM, 10 microM and > 100 microM, respectively. Thioperamide-induced 14CAP uptake was also inhibited by hexa-sila-difenidol p-fluoro analog and pirenzepine with IC50 of 90 nM and 12 microM, respectively; whereas gallamine had no effect. [3H]-N-methylscopolamine binding to isolated parietal cells was inhibited by atropine and pFHHSiD with IC50 of 15 nM and 132 nM, respectively. Neither R(alpha)-MeHA nor thioperamide did affect this binding although a H3-receptor inhibitory effect was observed on carbachol-induced 14CAP uptake by the cells. These data support that H3-receptor activation inhibits M3-mediated cholinergic stimulation of acid secretion through mechanisms operating downstream to the receptors sites.