The effect of various doses of tianeptine on the extracellular concentrations of dopamine was studied in the striatum and nucleus accumbens of the rat. At 5 (but not 2.5) mg/kg intraperitoneally, tianeptine increased the extracellular dopamine only in the nucleus accumbens. At 10 mg/kg, the effect was also seen in the striatum but it was less marked and shorter-lasting. At 10 mg/kg (i.p.), tianeptine significantly raised the extracellular concentrations of dihydroxyphenylacetic acid (DOPAC) and homovanillic acid (HVA) in both regions. The effect of 10 mg/kg tianeptine on dopamine and its metabolites was not significantly changed in animals which had received this dose twice daily for 15 days. Intracerebroventricular administration of 150 micrograms/20 microliters 5,7-dihydroxytryptamine, which markedly depleted serotonin in the brain, did not modify the effect of 10 mg/kg tianeptine on the extracellular concentrations of dopamine and HVA in the nucleus accumbens but reduced the effect on DOPAC. Various doses of tianeptine (1, 3 and 10 mg/kg i.p.) did not change the synthesis of serotonin and dopamine in the striatum and nucleus accumbens. The results show that tianeptine increased the extracellular concentrations of dopamine more in the nucleus accumbens than in striatum. The effect on the output of DA in the nucleus accumbens could be involved in the antidepressant activity of tianeptine.