To further investigate the activity of serotonin neurons in relation to feeding behavior, the metabolic activity of the serotonergic system and single neuron activity changes in the lateral hypothalamic area (LHA) were investigated concurrently in freely behaving rats. The extracellular concentration of 5-hydroxyindoleacetic acid (5-HIAA), a metabolic product of serotonin in the LHA, began to increase concomitantly with the early stage of nocturnal eating. The increased 5-HIAA returned to the basal level within 3 or 4 h. In conjunction with the increase in serotonin metabolism, activity of 12 out of 30 LHA neurons (40%) increased, whereas it decreased in 7 (23%), and in 11 (37%) it showed no change. An intracerebroventricular injection of lisuride suppressed the increased activity in 7 of the 12 neurons, but had no effect on the others. These results suggest that the concurrent increase in serotonin metabolism and neuron activity changes in the LHA may occur in the early portion of the nocturnal eating period, and may be important in controlling feeding behavior.