Abstract: The activation of muscarinic and NMDA receptors by carbachol and NMDA, respectively, stimulated the release of [3H]arachidonic acid ([3H]AA) from cultured striatal neurons. Striking synergistic effects were observed when both agonists were coapplied. This synergistic response was suppressed by atropine or (5R, 10S)-(+)-5-methyl-10,11-dihydro-5H-dibenzo[a,d]cyclohepten-5,10-imine hydrogen maleate and inhibited by magnesium. It was markedly reduced in the absence of external calcium and suppressed by mepacrine. NMDA strongly elevated the intracellular calcium concentration ([Ca2+]i), but carbachol was ineffective. Ionomycin, α-amino-3-hydroxy-5-methylisoxazole-4-propionate, or potassium depolarization, which increased [Ca2+]i but was ineffective on [3H]AA release, also potentiated the carbachol response. Sphingosine and Ro 31-8220 suppressed the responses evoked by carbachol, NMDA, or both agonists. However, no synergistic responses could be observed when phorbol 12-myristate 13-acetate was associated with either carbachol or NMDA. Together, these results suggest that both the massive influx of calcium induced by NMDA and the coupling of muscarinic receptors with a putative phospholipase A2 are required for the strong synergistic effects of carbachol and NMDA on [3H]AA release. Synergistic effects were also observed with acetylcholine and glutamate in the presence of magnesium, further revealing the physiological relevance of this process.