Nerve signals from the hippocampus to the nucleus accumbens (NAc) are transmitted through a glutamatergic pathway via the fornix/fimbria fibres. The aim of the present study was to investigate whether cholinergic neurons are activated by this projection and whether the nitric oxide (NO) system is also involved in the signal transduction within this nucleus. For this purpose, the NAc of urethane-anaesthetized rats was superfused, by the push-pull technique, with compounds that influence the NO system while the fornix/fimbria was electrically stimulated for short periods. The amount of acetylcholine (ACh) released in the superfusate was then determined. Electrical stimulation of the fornix/fimbria increased the ACh output in the NAc. This effect was abolished by superfusion with tetrodotoxin and decreased by superfusion with the glutamate receptor antagonists AP-5 and DNQX indicating the involvement of action potentials and glutamate. Superfusion with the inhibitor of neuronal NO synthase, NS 2028 also diminished stimulation-evoked ACh release. The NO donor PAPA/NO increased basal release. Simultaneous application of PAPA/NO and electrical stimulation led to an over-additive increase of ACh release. The effect of PAPA/NO on stimulation-evoked release was also abolished by NS 2028. The selective inhibitor of phosphodiesterase type 5 (PDE 5), 5-[2-ethoxy-5-(morpholinylacetyl)phenyl]-1,6-dihydro-1-methyl-3-propyl-7H-pyrazolo[4,3-d]pyrimidin-7-one methanesulphanate monohydrate also enhanced stimulation-induced release of ACh. Our findings indicate, that action potentials propagated by the fornix/fimbria to the NAc release glutamate which increases ACh release predominantly via NMDA receptors. In addition, nitrergic neurons are activated to enhance NO synthesis. The released NO seems to exert, via cGMP, a potent facilitatory role in the transduction and processing of signals from the hippocampus within the NAc, while the PDE 5 decreases the effects of NO.