beta-Adrenoceptors are G protein-coupled receptors whose functions are closely associated with caveolae in the heart and cultured cell lines. In the gut, they are responsible, at least in part, for the mediation of the sympathetic stimulation that might lead to intestinal paralysis postoperatively. We examined the effect of caveolin-1 knockout on the beta-adrenoceptor response in mouse small intestine. The relaxation response to (-)-isoprenaline in carbachol-contracted small intestinal tissue segments was reduced in caveolin-1 knockout mice (cav1(-/-)) compared with their genetic controls (cav1(+/+)). Immunohistochemical staining showed that beta-adrenoceptor expression was similar in both strains in gut smooth muscle. Selective beta-adrenoceptor blockers shifted the concentration response curve (CRC) of (-)-isoprenaline to the right in cav1(+/+) intestine, but not in cav1(-/-), with greatest shift in case of the beta(3)-blocker, SR59230A. The CRC of the selective beta(3)-agonist BRL 37344 was also shifted to the right in cav1(-/-) compared with cav1(+/+). The cAMP-dependent protein kinase (PKA) inhibitor H-89 shifted the CRC of (-)-isoprenaline to the right in cav1(+/+) but not in cav1(-/-). H-89 reduced the relaxation due to forskolin and dibutyryl cAMP in cav1(+/+) but not in cav1(-/-), suggesting a reduction in PKA activity in cav1(-/-). In cav1(+/+), PKA was colocalized with caveolin-1 in the cell membrane, but PKA immunoreactivity persisted in cav1(-/-). Examination of PKA expression in the lipid raft-rich membrane fraction of the jejunum revealed reduced PKA expression in cav1(-/-) compared with cav1(+/+). The results of the present study show that the function of beta-adrenoceptors is reduced in cav1(-/-) small intestine likely owing to reduced PKA activity.