Rats with unilateral injections of 6-hydroxydopamine (6-OHDA) into the substantia nigra pars compacta were classified as active and inactive according to the intensity of their spontaneous and/or apomorphine-induced turning behavior (TB), and sacrificed at different survival times for morphological and biochemical analysis. In active rats, at any survival time, dopaminergic fluorescence in the nigrostriatal system as well as dopamine (DA) and 3,4-dihydroxyphenylacetic acid (DOPAC) content of the nucleus caudatus-putamen drastically decreased on the brain side ipsilateral to the injection. Dopaminergic fluorescence as well as DA and DOPAC content of the mesolimbic system ipsilateral to the injection also decreased. In inactive rats, at any survival time, 6-OHDA-induced lesions only partially involved both nigrostriatal and mesolimbic systems. Our results are indicative of a good correlation between the intensity of TB and the extent of 6-OHDA-induced lesions, as assessed by morphological and biochemical analysis.