The effects of acute treatment with p-chloramphetamine, d-fenfluramine, and reserpine on intracellular (brain tissue and whole blood) and extracellular (CSF and platelet-free plasma) compartments of 5-hydroxytryptamine (5-HT) in the brain and blood of the same rats have been examined. These treatments affected 5-HT in brain tissue and whole blood similarly (r = 0.823). Reserpine significantly reduced both intracellular pools at 2 and 24 h. p-Chloroamphetamine and d-fenfluramine were more effective on brain tissue 5-HT. The concentration of 5-HT in CSF was significantly increased by all treatments. p-Chloroamphetamine induced a dramatic 70-fold increase of CSF 5-HT, paralleling a 42% decrease in brain tissue. d-Fenfluramine significantly increased CSF 5-HT to 212% of controls and reduced whole brain 5-HT (-23%). The effects of p-chloroamphetamine and d-fenfluramine on 5-HIAA in brain, CSF, and plasma were nonsignificant. Individual values of 5-hydroxyindoleacetic acid (5-HIAA) in CSF and brain were highly correlated (r = 0.855), indicating that CSF 5-HIAA reflects well the concentration of 5-HIAA in brain tissue. Yet the intra- and extracellular concentrations of 5-HIAA were unrelated to the 5-HT changes. This indicates that CSF 5-HIAA does not reflect the active (extracellular) compartment of 5-HT in brain.