The effect of systemic administration of desmethylimipramine (DMI) and oxaproptiline (OXA), two inhibitors of the noradrenaline (NA) reuptake carrier, on the in vivo extracellular concentrations of dopamine (DA) was studied by transcerebral dialysis in the prefrontal cortex and in the dorsal caudate of freely moving rats. In the NA-rich prefrontal cortex, either drug increased extracellular DA concentrations whereas in the dorsal caudate neither was effective. Haloperidol increased extracellular DA concentrations more effectively in the dorsal caudate than in the prefrontal cortex. Pre-treatment with DMI or OXA, which failed to modify the effect of haloperidol in the dorsal caudate, potentiated its action in the prefrontal cortex. 6-Hydroxydopamine lesioning of the dorsal NA bundle prevented the ability of OXA to increase DA concentrations. The results suggest that reuptake into NA terminals in an important mechanism by which DA is cleared from the extracellular space in a NA-rich area such as the prefrontal cortex. The elevated extracellular concentrations of DA resulting from blockade of such mechanism by tricyclic antidepressants may play a role in the therapeutic effects of these drugs.