In non-habituated mice, 7-hydroxy-N,N-di-n-propylaminotetralin (7-OH-DPAT, 0.04-10 mg/kg s.c.) potently and rapidly suppressed species-typical behaviours and induced frozen postures, with only occasional evidence of weak behavioural stimulation occurring at 5-10 mg/kg. This inhibitory effect was reversed by the dopamine D1 receptor agonist 2,3,4,5-tetrahydro-7,8-di-hydroxy-1-phenyl-1H-3-benzazepine hydrochloride (SKF 38393, 10 mg/kg i.p.). 7-OH-DPAT (3-10 mg/kg) did not reinstate locomotion in 4 h habituated mice, either when administered alone or in conjunction with a threshold dose of SKF 38393 (3 mg/kg). By contrast, 7-OH-DPAT (0.2-10 mg/kg) dose-dependently reversed the akinesia of 24 h reserpine-treated mice. This response was blocked by the dopamine D2 receptor antagonist raclopride (10 mg/kg i.p.), but not by the dopamine D1 receptor antagonist (R)-(+)-8-chloro-2,3,4,5-tetrahydro-3-methyl-5-phenyl-1H-3- benzazepine-7-ol hemimaleate (SCH 23390, 0.05 mg/kg i.p.), and was potentiated synergistically by coinjection of SKF 38393 (3 mg/kg). These and earlier data suggest the motor inhibitory effects of 7-OH-DPAT (low doses) in normal animals are mediated by dopamine autoreceptors (D2 and/or D3), whilst its motor stimulant actions in normal (high doses) and in dopamine-depleted, supersensitive animals, are mediated by dopamine D2 receptors.