Systemic administration of benzodiazepine receptor inverse agonists leads to behavioral changes similar to those produced by inescapable shock (IS). The dorsal raphe nucleus (DRN) is a critical structure mediating IS effects. The present experiments determined whether the DRN is a site mediating the behavioral changes produced by benzodiazepine receptor inverse agonists. Microinjection of the inverse agonist Methyl 6,7-Dimethoxy-4-ethyl-beta-carboline-3-carboxylate (DMCM) in the region of the DRN produced enhancement of fear conditioning as assessed by the amount of freezing in the presence of shock cues as well as interference with shuttlebox escape learning assessed 24 hr later. Furthermore, lesion of the DRN blocked the effects of systemic DMCM on fear conditioning and escape learning. These data suggest that the DRN is indeed critical in mediating these behavioral consequences of DMCM and further support a role for the DRN in producing the behavioral changes induced by IS.