The effect of lesions of the catecholamine nerve terminals in the medial prefrontal cortex of the rat on neurotransmitter mechanisms within the basal ganglia has been investigated. Bilateral 6-hydroxydopamine lesions were stereotaxically placed in the dopamine-rich (DA) area of th frontal cortex. Animals were pretreated with desmethylimipramine to block the uptake of neurotoxin into noradrenergic (NA) terminals and to make it more selective for DA terminals. The lesion produced a selective reduction of both NA and DA from the medial prefrontal cortex, a result related to falls in tyrosine hydroxylase activity at this site. Lesioned animals showed enhanced DA turnover and utilisation in striatal and limbic regions. There was no change in subcortical tyrosine hydroxylase activity. In addition there were significant falls in other putative neurotransmitters within basal sites, including 5-hydroxytryptamine and GABA. Decreased activity of the neurotransmitter-synthesizing enzyme glutamate decarboxylase and choline acetyltransferase was also recorded in certain regions of the basal ganglia. The results suggest that frontal cortical catecholamine systems may serve to regulate various neurotransmitter mechanisms in the basal ganglia.