Urotensin-II (U-II) receptors are widely distributed in the central nervous system. Intracerebroventricular (i.c.v.) injection of U-II causes hypertension and bradycardia and stimulates prolactin and thyrotropin secretion. However, the behavioral effects of centrally administered U-II have received little attention. In the present study, we tested the effects of i.c.v. injections of U-II on behavioral, metabolic, and endocrine responses in mice. Administration of graded doses of U-II (1-10,000 ng/mouse) provoked: (1) a dose-dependent reduction in the number of head dips in the hole-board test; (2) a dose-dependent reduction in the number of entries in the white chamber in the black-and-white compartment test, and in the number of entries in the central platform and open arms in the plus-maze test; and (3) a dose-dependent increase in the duration of immobility in the forced-swimming test and tail suspension test. Intracerebroventricular injection of U-II also caused an increase in: food intake at doses of 100 and 1,000 ng/mouse, water intake at doses of 100-10,000 ng/mouse, and horizontal locomotion activity at a dose of 10,000 ng/mouse. Whatever was the dose, the central administration of U-II had no effect on body temperature, nociception, apomorphine-induced penile erection and climbing behavior, and stress-induced plasma corticosterone level. Taken together, the present study demonstrates that the central injection of U-II at doses of 1-10,000 ng/mouse induces anxiogenic- and depressant-like effects in mouse. These data suggest that U-II may be involved in some aspects of psychiatric disorders.