Pteridine compounds are known to block Na+-reabsorption and K+-secretion in epithelial cells (salivary duct of the rat), which actively transport Na+ and K+ against an electrochemical gradient. Furthermore, there have been reports on antagonistic effects of these substances in digitalis induced arrhythmias. Therefore the actions of triamterene (Jatropur, Dyrenium), the sulfuric acid ester and the methylether of p-hydroxytriamterene (OH-triamterene) and OH-triamterene on specific [3H] g-strophanthin (ouabain) binding and Na+ + K+)-ATPase activity of isolated human cardiac cell membranes were investigated. Triamterene, the sulfuric acid ester and the methylether of OH-triamterene inhibit (Na+ + K+)-ATPase activity only at very high concentrations (10(-5)--10(-4) M). OH-Triamterene does not inhibit this enzyme at concentrations lower than 10(-3) M. The specific binding of [3H] g-strophanthin to human cardiac cell membranes is inhibited half maximally at relatively high concentrations, too (10(-5)--10(-4) M). These results are rather indicative of unspecific effects due to membrane sites of action other than the (Na+ + K+)-ATPase or the cardiac glycoside receptor.