Disruption of corticostriatal glutamate input in the striatum decreased significantly extracellular striatal glutamate and dopamine levels. Local administration of 300 microM concentration of excitatory receptor agonist kainic acid increased significantly extracellular striatal dopamine in intact freely moving rats. These findings support the hypothesis that glutamate exerts a tonic facilitatory effect on striatal dopamine release. The effect of kainic acid on extracellular striatal glutamate concentration in intact rats was a biphasic increase. The first glutamate increase can be explained by stimulation of presynaptic kainate receptors present on corticostriatal glutamatergic nerve terminals; the second increase is probably the result of a continuous interaction of the different striatal neurotransmitters after disturbance of their balance. Release of dopamine and glutamate was modulated differently in the intact striatum and in the striatum deprived of corticostriatal input. Dopamine release in the denervated striatum after kainate receptor stimulation was significantly lower than in intact striatum, confirming the so-called cooperativity between glutamate and kainic acid. Loss of presynaptic kainate receptors on the glutamatergic nerve terminals after decortication resulted in a loss of effect of kainic acid on glutamate release in denervated striatum. Aspartate showed no significant changes in this study.