The effect of L-dihydroxyphenylalanine (L-DOPA) on extracellular dopamine (DA) in the striatum was determined by microdialysis in 6-hydroxydopamine (6-OHDA)-lesioned rats treated with and without the serotonergic neurotoxin 5,7-dihydroxytryptamine (5,7-DHT). At the same time the intensity of L-DOPA-induced rotational behavior was assessed. In 6-OHDA-lesioned rats treated with 5,7-DHT, L-DOPA (50 mg/kg, i.p.) increased extracellular DA only to 20% of that measured in animals not treated with 5,7-DHT. Likewise, 6-OHDA-lesioned rats treated with 5,7-DHT exhibited a significantly lower number of L-DOPA-induced rotations. These results suggest that serotonergic terminals in the striatum can convert exogenously administered L-DOPA into DA that can be released into the extracellular space.