The effects of methacholine and histamine were examined on cyclic AMP-dependent protein kinase (A-kinase) activity in guinea-pig isolated trachea, using kemptide as a substrate for phosphorylation during the determination of the enzyme activity. Methacholine (EC90, 10 μM) induced a rapid reduction in the basal A-kinase activity ratio, which was maximal after 30 s. This initial reduction coincided with the early phase of isometric tension development, and returned to control levels 4 min after the addition of methacholine. Pretreatment with atropine inhibited the methacholine response. In contrast, histamine (EQ90, 30 μM) was without effect upon A-kinase activity ratio. The results establish the sensitivity of the A-kinase assay using kemptide and demonstrate that not all contractile agonists have the capacity to inhibit basal activity of A-kinase in airway smooth muscle.Key words: A-kinase, cholinomimetics, guinea-pig trachealis, smooth muscle contraction.