It has been postulated that increased dopamine (DA) activity in the medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC) exerts an inhibitory influence over DA release in the nucleus accumbens and, thus, also over locomotor activity. Experiments were designed to examine the role of mPFC DA and neurotensin (NT), a neuropeptide which interacts with DA, in spontaneous locomotor activity. LS/IBG mice were injected bilaterally with either GBR-12909, a selective DA uptake blocker, the DA D1 receptor antagonist R-(+)-SCH-23390, the DA D2 receptor antagonist epidepride, NT or a combination of drugs. GBR-12909 produced a U-shaped dose-response curve with a maximum inhibition of 47% of control. Postmortem tissue levels of DA, 5-hydroxytryptamine, norepinephrine and their major metabolites were determined after microinjections of GBR-12909. Tissue levels of these compounds were not significantly affected by GBR-12909. However, the ratios of homovanilic acid/DA and homovanilic acid + 3,4-dihyroxyphenylacetic acid/DA were significantly decreased, whereas the 5-hydroxyindoleacetic acid/5-hydroxytryptamine ratio was not affected by GBR-12909, suggesting a selective effect on DAergic processes. By itself, R-(+)-SCH-23390 had no effect on locomotor activity except at a very high dose which caused locomotor inhibition (49% of control). Epidepride caused a dose-dependent inhibition of locomotor activity with a maximum inhibition of 49% of control. When coinjected with an inhibitory dose of GBR-12909, both epidepride and R-(+)-SCH-23390 attenuated the GBR-12909 effect in a dose-dependent manner. A broad range of doses of NT was found to have no consistent effect on locomotor activity. However, when coinjected with an inhibitory dose of GBR-12909, NT attenuated the GBR-12909-induced inhibition in a dose-dependent manner. The results suggest that stimulation of DA receptors in the mPFC, both DA D1 and DA D2 receptors mediates locomotor inhibition. Furthermore, stimulation of NT receptors appears to antagonize the effects of DA.