Desmethylimipramine (DMI) administered once daily for 10 days caused a significant decrease in beta-adrenergic receptor binding, as measured by quantitative autoradiography in discrete brain regions. The decrease was observed 72 h after the last injection throughout the cortex and in hippocampus but not in other regions, much richer in beta-receptors, such as the caudate, olfactory tubercle, superior colliculus, dorsomedial thalamus, substantia nigra, or pineal. The same paradigm did not affect imipramine (IMI) binding in the cortex or in regions with high concentrations of IMI binding sites. DMI binding was not decreased, either. Significant increases in DMI binding were observed in frontal cortex and in the ventral aspect of the bed nucleus of the stria terminalis. We conclude that a reduction in tricyclic binding is not a general phenomenon following chronic treatment with tricyclic antidepressants, and changes in binding, when they do occur, are not correlated with areas of high binding site density.