Lesion studies employing 6-hydroxydopamine (6-OHDA) suggest that locomotor hyperactivity induced by certain stimulant drugs is dependent on dopaminergic neurotransmission in the nucleus accumbens (NACC). However, studies to date have not adequately controlled for the reported effects of 6-OHDA on baseline (non-drug) activity and on DA levels in other terminal regions. Slow bilateral infusions of 6-OHDA into the NACC, but not into olfactory tubercle (OT) or medial prefrontal cortex (mPFCx), reduced d-amphetamine (0.5 mg/kg SC) hyperactivity and resulted in a "supersensitive" (hyperactive) response to a low dose of apomorphine (0.1 mg/kg SC) in photocell cages. Direct observation revealed no behavioral changes in OT lesioned rats challenged with apomorphine which might correspond to a "denervation supersensitivity" syndrome. Assays of DA and 5-hydroxytryptamine (5-HT) in mPFCx, OT, NACC, and caudate-putamen revealed that 6-OHDA infusion into NACC caused substantial DA loss in NACC, OT and mPFCx, whereas infusion at mPFCx or OT sites depleted DA locally (greater than 85% loss) with little or no remote change. Concentrations of 5-HT were little altered by 6-OHDA, except for a local depletion in mPFCx. The present results confirm the importance of nucleus accumbens DA in the expression of locomotor stimulation induced by apomorphine and d-amphetamine, and suggest that the mPFCx and OT do not make an important contribution.