Modifications in serotonin (5-HT) neurotransmission have been associated with the physiopathology of anxiety and depression. Among the numerous 5-HT receptor subtypes, several (5-HT1A, 5-HT1B, 5-HT2 and 5-HT3) could be involved in these etiologies. By using a murine genetic model, we attempted to correlate variations in the density of receptor subtypes with modifications of anxiety-related behaviors. From a classic inbred strain (C57BL/6ByJ) and a linkage-testing inbred strain (ABP/Le), segregated F(2) populations for 3 loci located in the 4th, 7th and 9th chromosomes have been selected for their different responses in anxiety-related behavioral tests. The regional density of 5-HT1A, 5-HT1B, 5-HT2A and 5-HT2B receptors has been measured in the brains of parental strains, F(1) and F(2) populations by quantitative autoradiography. The results suggest that chromosomal fragments containing the brown, pink-eyed dilution and the short-ear loci, previously shown to be involved in anxiogenic processes, are mainly associated with a variation in the density of the 5-HT1B receptors.