Because of the possible interaction between adenosine receptors and dopaminergic functions, the compound acting on the specific adenosine receptor subtype may be a candidate for novel antipsychotic drugs. To elucidate the antipsychotic potential of the selective adenosine A(1) receptor agonist N(6)-cyclopentyladenosine (CPA), we examined herein the effects of CPA on phencyclidine (PCP)-induced behavior and expression of the immediate-early genes (IEGs), arc, c-fos and jun B, in the discrete brain regions of rats. PCP (7.5 mg/kg, s.c.) increased locomotor activity and head weaving in rats and this effect was significantly attenuated by pretreatment with CPA (0.5 mg/kg, s.c.). PCP increased the mRNA levels of c-fos and jun B in the medial prefrontal cortex, nucleus accumbens and posterior cingulate cortex, while leaving the striatum and hippocampus unaffected. CPA pretreatment significantly attenuated the PCP-induced increase in c-fos mRNA levels in the medial prefrontal cortex and nucleus accumbens. CPA also significantly attenuated the PCP-induced arc expression in the medial prefrontal cortex and posterior cingulate cortex. When administered alone, CPA decreased the mRNA levels of all IEGs examined in the nucleus accumbens, but not in other brain regions. Based on the ability of CPA to inhibit PCP-induced hyperlocomotion and its interaction with neural systems in the medial prefrontal cortex, posterior cingulate cortex and nucleus accumbens, the present results provide further evidence for a significant antipsychotic effect of the adenosine A(1) receptor agonist.