To examine possible regulatory control of renal proximal tubule organic anion secretion, winter flounder (Pleuronectes americanus) proximal tubule primary cultures were mounted in Ussing chambers. Unidirectional fluxes of [2,4-(14)C]dichlorophenoxyacetic acid were determined under short-circuited conditions. Phorbol 12-myristate 13-acetate (1 microM) caused a significant (P < 0.01) inhibition of net 2,4-dichlorophenoxyacetic acid secretion. Preincubation with staurosporine (1 microM) blocked the phorbol 12-myristate 13-acetate-induced decrease in secretion. Neither forskolin (10 microM) nor W-7 (20 microM) had any effect on net transport. Elevation of intracellular calcium activity with either A-23187 or thapsigargin produced a slight, transient decrease in transport. Addition of dopamine (1 microM) to the peritubular side, but not the luminal side, caused a significant (P < 0.01) decrease in net secretion. Both the alpha-adrenergic agonist oxymetazoline (10 microM) and depletion of intracellular Na+ transiently, but significantly (P < 0.05), increased net transport. The data indicate that renal organic anion excretion may be regulated through dopaminergic inhibition and alpha-adrenergic stimulation of net transepithelial secretion.