The aim of this study was to identify receptors that mediate reflex mydriasis in pentobarbital-anesthetized rabbits, in which the cervical sympathetic nerve was sectioned unilaterally. Voltage-response curves of pupillary dilation were generated bilaterally by stimulation of the sciatic nerve. Evoked mydriatic responses were mediated mainly by efferent parasympathetic innervation, and, to a lesser extent, by sympathetic innervation. The a-adrenergic antagonist, phenoxybenzamine (0.3 mg/kg, intravenously (i.v.)), antagonized mydriasis of the neurally intact eye, but not that on the sympathectomized side. The a- adrenergic antagonist, RS 79948 (0.3 mg/kg, i.v.), potentiated mydriasis of the normal eye, but was without either a potentiating or inhibitory effect on the mydriasis of the sympathectomized eye. In addition, the dopamine-receptor antagonist, haloperidol (1 mg/kg, i.v.), inhibited evoked mydriasis of the sympathectomized eye. These results suggest that, unlike some other species (cats and rats), a-adrenoceptors do not mediate reflex mydriasis elicited by sciatic-nerve stimulation in the rabbit, and support the previous finding in humans that dopamine receptors may mediate this response.