Administration of L-dopa (L, 4-dihydroxyphenylalanine) (200mg/kg p.o.) to rats produced elevated plasma and muscle concentrations of both L-dopa and 3-O-methyldopa (3-OMD). This effect was potentiated by simultaneous administration of carbidopa (25 mg/kg p.o.) both L-dopa and 3-OMD accumulated in muscle after administration of L-dopa with or without carbidopa. Elevated dopamine levels were detected in both muscle and plasma after treatment with L-dopa alone. Concurrent administration of carbidopa only diminished dopamine levels in plasma, and the duration of raised dopamine levels in muscle was increased. Carbidopa administration had no effect on the elevated plasma concentrations of 3,4-dihydroxyphenylacetic acid (DOPAC) and homovanillic acid (HVA) caused by L-dopa administration. In muscle, carbidopa treatment tended to prolong the duration of raised metabolite levels. Muscle appears to accumulate L-dopa at a site where decarboxylation is not totally prevented by concurrent carbidopa administration, and where dopamine is not degraded as actively as in other tissues. The muscle sink for L-dopa may influence the plasma profile of the amino acid, which has implications for the therapeutic response to L-dopa in Parkinson's disease.