Fezolamine [N,N-dimethyl-3,4-diphenyl-1H-pyrazole-1-propanamine-(E)-2- butenedioate] is a new, nontricyclic agent under investigation as a potential antidepressant. In vitro, it was 3 to 4 times more selective in blocking synaptosomal uptake of [3H]norepinephrine than uptake of [3H]serotonin or [3H]dopamine. In classical behavioral tests using monoamine-depleted animals, it prevented the depressant effects of reserpine and tetrabenzine. In addition, it was active in the "behavioral despair" procedure. Its potency in three of these models was similar to that of standard tricyclics (e.g., imipramine, amitriptyline) or newer nontricyclic antidepressants (e.g., bupropion). In the mouse mydriasis and oxotremorine antagonism models, anticholinergic properties of fezolamine were weak or absent compared with imipramine and amitriptyline. Locomotor activity in mice was not increased by fezolamine at doses 2 to 16 times greater than effective antidepressant doses, suggesting the absence of central nervous system stimulant properties. Fezolamine did not inhibit monoamine oxidase activity in ex vivo studies and, unlike pargyline, did not produce locomotor hyperactivity in mice pretreated with L-tryptophan. In vitro studies using canine Purkinje tissue suggest that fezolamine has significantly less ability to depress myocardial conduction parameters than similar concentrations of imipramine. In a myocardially infarcted cat model, plasma levels of fezolamine 19 to 28 times greater than those achieved with imipramine were required before inducing significant depression of cardiac function and mean arterial pressure. Fezolamine, unlike imipramine, did not increase sinus rate. Fezolamine may thus show antidepressant efficacy in man with minimal anticholinergic or cardiovascular side effects common to tricyclic antidepressants.