Contraversive turning was evoked by the microinjection of GABAergic agents into the substantia nigra (SN) of the rat. Muscimol, the most potent GABA agonist, evoked contralateral turning when injected into the SN in doses of 0.005, 0.05, 0.5 and 5 microgram, whereas 0.5 microgram of muscimol applied at extranigral sites produced no turning. A shorter lived contraversive turning response was evoked by the intranigral micro-injection of imidazole acetic acid (10 or 50 microgram), ethanolamine-O-sulphate (25 or 50 microgram), or GABA (50 microgram). No increase in GABA-induced turning was produced by local pretreatment with pipecolic acid (5 microgram). When injected into the SN, neither picrotoxin, in doses of 0.1, 0.5, 1.0 or 2.0 microgram, nor bicuculline methiodide (Bm), in doses of 0.1 or 0.2 microgram, elicited a significant amount of turning. Picrotoxin, however, partially blocked the turning evoked by the intranigral injection of muscimol, both via the i.p. and intranigral routes of administration whereas Bm did not. In addition, haloperidol (1 mg/kg i.p.) antagonized the muscimol-induced turning. Hence, we feel GABA mimetic substances injected within the SN might evoke contralateral turning via activation of a heretofore undescribed neural system arising from the SN or by activating the ipsilateral dopaminergic neurons projecting from the SN.