Phenelzine (PLZ), a nonselective monoamine oxidase inhibitor, is widely used in psychiatry for the treatment of panic disorder and depression. The effects of chronic (28-day) administration of PLZ (0.05 mmol/kg/day) and its N-acetylated analogue, 1-acetyl-2-(2-phenylethyl) hydrazine (N2-acetylphenelzine; N2AcPLZ; 0.10 mmol/kg/day), on alpha 2-adrenoreceptor function were investigated by use of a behavioral test on days 21 and 22. Rats treated with PLZ or N2AcPLZ displayed a significant attenuation of the suppressant effects of clonidine on spontaneous locomotor activity, compared with controls; these results suggest a reduced sensitivity of alpha 2-adrenoreceptors. By day 28, both PLZ and N2AcPLZ had produced greater than 85% inhibition of monoamine oxidases A and B in the brain, heart, and liver. Both drugs induced significant elevations of whole-brain levels of noradrenaline, 5-hydroxytryptamine, and dopamine, compared with those in controls. The levels of acid metabolites of dopamine and 5-hydroxytryptamine (homovanillic acid, 3,4-dihydroxyphenylacetic acid, and 5-hydroxyindole-3-acetic acid) were significantly reduced in both groups of drug-treated animals.