The effects of the selective lesion of serotoninergic neurons by an intra-raphe administration of 5,7-dihydroxytryptamine on the 5-HT1A receptor protein and the 5-HT1A receptor mRNA were examined in various regions of the rat brain using specific antibodies and an antisense riboprobe, respectively. Twenty one days after the treatment, the 5-HT1A receptor protein was no longer detected within the dorsal raphe nucleus but was still present in the hippocampus and entorhinal cortex. Quantitative in situ hybridization showed an 85% decrease in the levels of 5-HT1A receptor mRNA within the dorsal raphe nucleus, but no significant change in the hippocampus, interpeduncular nucleus and entorhinal cortex of 5,7-dihydroxytryptamine-treated rats. These data demonstrate that 5-HT1A receptors are synthesized by serotoninergic neurons in the dorsal raphe nucleus, and by neurons located postsynaptically with regard to serotoninergic projections in other areas. The unchanged levels of 5-HT1A receptor mRNA in the hippocampus, interpeduncular nucleus and entorhinal cortex three weeks after the extensive lesion of serotoninergic neurons are consistent with the absence of 5-HT1A receptor up regulation already reported under this condition.