DARPP-32 is a cyclic adenosine monophosphate-regulated inhibitor of protein phosphatase 1, highly enriched in striatonigral neurons. Stimulation of dopamine D1 receptors increases phosphorylation of DARPP-32, whereas glutamate acting on N-methyl-d-aspartate receptors induces its dephosphorylation. Yet, to date, there is little direct evidence for the function of DARPP-32 in striatal neurons. Using a whole cell patch-clamp technique, we have studied the role of DARPP-32 in the regulation of voltage-gated sodium channels in rat striatal neurons maintained in primary culture. Injection of phospho-DARPP-32, but not of the unphosphorylated form, reduced the sodium current amplitude. This effect was similar to those induced by okadaic acid, with which there was no additivity and by tautomycin. Our results indicate that, in striatal neurons, sodium channels are under dynamic control by phosphorylation/dephosphorylation, and that phospho-DARPP-32 reduces sodium current by stabilizing a phosphorylated state of the channel or an associated regulatory protein. We propose that the DARPP-32-mediated modulation of sodium channels, via inhibition of phosphatase 1, contributes to the regulation of these channels by D1 receptors and other neurotransmitters which influence the state of phosphorylation of DARPP-32.