Fluoxetine at 10 and 25 mg/kg increased (167 and 205%, respectively) the extracellular dopamine concentration in the prefrontal cortex, whereas 25 (but not 10) mg/kg citalopram raised (216%) dialysate dopamine. No compound modified dialysate dopamine in the nucleus accumbens. The effect of 25 mg/kg of both compounds on cortical extracellular dopamine was not significantly affected by 300 mg/kg p-chlorophenylalanine (PCPA) (fluoxetine, saline, 235%; PCPA, 230%; citalopram, saline, 179%; PCPA, 181%). PCPA depleted tissue and dialysate serotonin by approximately 90 and 50%, respectively, and prevented the effect of fluoxetine and citalopram on dialysate serotonin (fluoxetine, saline, 246%; PCPA, 110%; citalopram, saline, 155%; PCPA, 96%). Citalopram significantly raised extracellular serotonin from 0.1 to 100 microM (251-520%), whereas only 10 and 100 microM increased dialysate dopamine (143-231%). Fluoxetine similarly increased extracellular serotonin (98-336%) and dopamine (117-318%). PCPA significantly reduced basal serotonin and the effects of 100 microM fluoxetine (saline, 272%; PCPA, 203%) and citalopram (saline, 345%; PCPA, 258%) on dialysate serotonin but did not modify their effect on dopamine (fluoxetine, saline, 220%; PCPA, 202%; citalopram, saline, 191%; PCPA, 211%). The results clearly show that the effects of fluoxetine and of high concentrations of citalopram on extracellular dopamine do not depend on their effects on serotonin.