Recent experiments from this laboratory demonstrated synergistic locomotor depressant effects of AMPA/kainate receptor blockade and D(2/3) dopamine (DA) receptor stimulation. This study explored functional interactions between DA and glutamate (Glu) systems using the NMDA receptor antagonist MK-801 and the DA receptor agonists 7-OH-DPAT and apomorphine. Using photocell locomotor activity boxes, systemic effects of MK-801 in combination with 7-OH-DPAT (0.03 mgkg(-1) SC, n=8) or a pre-synaptically effective dose of apomorphine (0.05 mgkg(-1) SC, n=6) were measured in male Sprague-Dawley rats. Effects of bilateral applications of MK-801 and 7-OH-DPAT into the nucleus accumbens (NAS) shell subregion were also investigated (n=7). When given alone, MK-801 (0.13 mgkg(-1) or 0.66 microg intra-NAS shell) increased horizontal locomotor activity, while 7-OH-DPAT (0.03 mgkg(-1)) or apomorphine (0.05 mgkg(-1)) decreased this measure. Co-administration of 7-OH-DPAT (systemically or into the NAS shell) completely blocked MK-801 induced hyperactivity. In contrast, MK-801 and apomorphine demonstrated additive effects. Stimulation of D(3) DA receptors may therefore block the hyperactivity induced by NMDA receptor antagonism, and the NAS shell is an important site for this interaction. The differential effects of the DA agonists on hyperactivity induced by NMDA receptor blockade support the proposal that 7-OH-DPAT may induce hypoactivity by stimulation of postsynaptic D(3) DA receptors.