Rates of local cerebral glucose utilization were measured by means of the quantitative autoradiographic 2-[14C]deoxyglucose technique in conscious rats following the acute administration of D-amphetamine (0.2-5.0 mg/kg, i.v.). Changes in locomotor and stereotypic behavior in similarly treated rats were examined as well. Administration of low doses (0.2 and 0.5 mg/kg) of amphetamine resulted in increased locomotor activity, accompanied by elevations in glucose utilization limited mainly to the nucleus accumbens. A moderate dose of D-amphetamine (1.0 mg/kg) produced locomotion and stereotypic sniffing. Metabolic activity at this dose was increased in the nucleus accumbens, throughout neocortical areas, and in components of the extrapyramidal system. A high dose of amphetamine (5.0 mg/kg) produced stereotypic gnawing and licking and was associated with significant increases in glucose utilization in the extrapyramidal system, most prominently in the subthalamic nucleus. These data demonstrate that the acute administration of D-amphetamine produces effects on local cerebral glucose utilization and on behavior that differ with dose. The results also show a strong coupling between locomotion and the level of metabolic activity in the nucleus accumbens and demonstrate that the different forms of stereotypic behavior elicited by high and moderate doses of amphetamine are correlated with distinct patterns of distribution of local cerebral glucose utilization, indicating mediation by different neuronal circuits.