The role of endogenous CRF in the locomotor hyperactivity induced by cocaine was investigated by using the immunoneutralization of endogenous CRF and an antagonist of CRF-receptors (alpha-helical CRF9-41: alpha h-CRF) in rats. Different dilutions of anti-CRF antibody (1:5, 1:20, but not 1:100) injected intracerebroventricularly (i.c.v.) 24 hours before the cocaine treatment blocked the expression of locomotor hyperactivity. Pretreatment with different doses (0.001, 0.01, 0.1, 1.0 micrograms i.c.v.) of alpha h-CRF inhibited the locomotor hyperactivity induced by cocaine dose-dependently. Neither the immunoneutralization nor the receptor blockade for CRF changed the hyperactivity induced by another locomotor stimulant caffeine. These results serve as indirect in vivo evidence of the selective role of endogenous CRF in the cocaine-induced behavioral alterations. The findings have implications as concerns the possible role of CRF in human psychopathological changes induced by cocaine.