Phencylidine (PCP) is a psychotomimetic noncompetitive glutamate antagonist that has been used in studies of the neural substrates of psychosis. Both schizophrenic patients and PCP-treated rats exhibit reduced amounts of prepulse inhibition (PPI) of the startle reflex, which is the normal inhibition of startle that occurs when the starting noise is preceded 30 to 500 msec by a weak prepulse. The present study assessed the effects of seroquel (ICI 204,636), a mixed D2/5-hydroxytryptamine2 antagonist with a preclinical profile suggestive of potential antipsychotic efficacy, on the PCP-induced disruption of PPI. Clozapine, risperidone and haloperidol were also studied as comparison compounds. PCP (1.25 mg/kg) significantly reduced PPI, with prepulses that were 1 to 12 dB above background. Seroquel and clozapine significantly restored PPI in PCP-treated rats, whereas haloperidol and risperidone did not. Similar findings were obtained in studies using separate animals, a slightly lower dose of PCP (1.0 mg/kg) and a high dose of each of these antipsychotics. Separate studies verified that risperidone and haloperidol restored PPI in apomorphine-treated rats. In the present studies, seroquel exhibited a profile consistent with those exhibited by other "atypical" antipsychotics.