In rabbit portal vein myocytes noradrenaline activates a non-selective cation current (Icat) which involves a transient receptor potential protein (TRPC6). Previously we have shown that the diaylglycerol (DAG) analogue 1-oleoyl-2-acetyl-sn-glycerol (OAG) stimulates Icat via a protein kinase C (PKC)-independent mechanism, and in the present study we have investigated the interaction between inositol phosphates (InsPs) and OAG on Icat. With whole-cell recording of Icat from freshly isolated rabbit portal vein myocytes the amplitude and rate of activation of noradrenaline-evoked Icat were much greater than those of OAG-induced Icat. Inclusion of inositol 1,4,5-trisphosphate (Ins(1,4,5)P3) in the pipette solution did not evoke Icat but greatly potentiated the amplitude and rate of activation of OAG-induced Icat. With isolated outside-out patches Ins(1,4,5)P3 markedly increased the rate of activation and the open probability of OAG-evoked channel activity, with no change in unitary conductance, channel mean open times or burst durations. The effects of Ins(1,4,5)P3 were mimicked by Ins(2,4,5)P3, 3-F-Ins(1,4,5)P3 and Ins(1,4)P2 but not by Ins(1,3,4,5)P4 and the potentiating effects of InsPs were not inhibited by heparin. Therefore it is concluded that both DAG and InsPs are necessary for full activation of Icat by noradrenaline and the effect of InsPs is via a heparin-insensitive mechanism and represents a novel action of InsPs.