The present study was to investigate the effects of aminoglycoside antibiotics, changes in extracellular Ca2+ concentration and antagonists of L-type Ca-channels on the activity of rabbit carotid sinus baroreceptors (CS-BRA) in isolated and superperfused carotid sinus-carotid sinus nerve (CS-CNS) preparations, using extracellular recording technique. The results are as follows. (1) Streptomycin (0.25-0.75 mmol/L) and gentamycin (0.43-1.29 mmol/L) inhibited CS-BRA in a dose-dependent manner, which recovered after the drugs were washed out. (2) Perfusion with high Ca2+ (3.3 mmol/L) solution inhibited CS-BRA, while perfusate with trace Ca2+ (in the order of 10(-5) mol/L) increased it. (3) Verapamil and diltiazem had no effect on CS-BRA at a concentration of 10(-7) mol/L, but inhibited it at higher concentrations (> 10(-6) mol/L). These results suggest: (1) aminoglycoside antibiotics can inhibit CS-BRA specifically, thus providing a new tool for the study of baroreceptors; (2) calcium ions are not necessary for producing generator potentials of baroreceptors, and the L-type calcium channel does not seem to be involved in CS-BRA per se; and (3) the inhibitory effects of aminoglycoside antibiotics on CS-BRA may not be related to the blocking of L-type calcium channels.