The present experiment was designed to determine whether ventral tegmental injections of the nicotinic agonist cytisine can establish place preferences. Two groups of rats were tested: one group received injections into the ventral tegmentum and a second group received injections into sites dorsal to the ventral tegmentum; this latter group was used to assess whether the diffusion of drug into sites dorsal to the ventral tegmentum might in itself be sufficient to account for the effects associated with injections into the ventral tegmentum. A total of eight sets of injections were made. On days 1, 3, 5, and 7, animals were injected with cytisine (10 nmol per 0.5 microliter per side) and placed in one of the two main compartments of a place-preference apparatus. On days 2, 4, 6, and 8, injections of physiological saline, the drug vehicle, were paired with the other main compartment. Animals that received ventral tegmental injections of cytisine spent significantly more time in the cytisine-paired compartment than in the saline-paired compartment. Animals given cytisine injections into sites dorsal to the ventral tegmentum did not show a preference for the cytisine-paired compartment. These findings provide additional evidence in support of the hypothesis that nicotinic actions at the level of the ventral tegmentum contribute to the reinforcing actions of systemic injections of nicotine.