The relationship between brain glucose and serotonin is still unclear and no direct evidence of an action of brain glucose on serotonergic metabolism in central fatigue phenomena has been shown yet. In order to determine whether or not brain glucose could influence the brain 5-hydroxytryptamine (5-HT) system, we have monitored in microdialysis the effects of a direct injection of glucose in rat brain hippocampus on serotonergic metabolism [i.e. 5-HT, 5-hydroxyindoleacetic acid (5-HIAA) and tryptophan (TRP)], during high intensive treadmill running. The injection was performed just before and after exercise. We have shown that glucose induced a decrease of brain 5-HT levels to a minimum of 73.0 +/- 3.5% of baseline after the first injection (P < 0.01) and to 68.5 +/- 5.5% of baseline after the second injection (P < 0.01) and consequently prevented the exercise-induced 5-HT enhanced levels. We have observed the same phenomenon concerning the 5-HIAA, but brain TRP levels were not decreased by the injections. In conclusion, this study demonstrates that brain glucose can act on serotonergic metabolism and thus can prevent exercise-induced increase of 5-HT levels. The results also suggest that extracellular brain glucose does not act on the synthesis way of 5-HT, but probably on the release/reuptake system.