Microdialysis, binding and behavioural studies have shown that the dopaminergic system plays a role in antidepressant treatment. It has been suggested that stress may provoke a modification in dopamine (DA) release in different brain areas and that the forced swimming test (FST), in its own accord as a stressor, may be responsible for this modification. Naive male Swiss mice, receiving saline solution, were used in two animal models of depression, the FST and the tail suspension test (TST). In order to understand the locomotor aspect of each test, groups of mice were studied for effects on locomotor activity. Following each test, mice were killed by cervical dislocation, brains were removed and concentrations of amines in the whole brain were analysed by high-performance liquid chromatography. DA concentration increased from 5 min of the FST, dihydroxyphénylacetate (DOPAC), from 20 min of FST and serotonin, from 8 min of FST. No modification of noradrenaline was observed during the FST and no modification of the neurotransmitter concentrations was observed during the TST. Following an FST of 2-min duration, a hypolocomotor effect was observed in the subsequent actimeter test. The same effect was observed after a TST of 8 min and onwards. This study confirms the fact that although these two tests are used to study depression, they involve different neuronal mechanisms.