||The syndrome of behavioral stimulation induced in male Sprague-Dawley rats by two dopaminergic agents was studied by distinguishing specific behavioral items and quantifying them in terms of their incidence. The specific D-2 agonist LY 171555 elicited yawning, genital grooming, exploratory behavior, downward sniffing and licking but failed to induce gnawing even at high doses. On the other hand, the D-1/D-2 agonist apomorphine elicited the full stereotyped syndrome including gnawing. Depletion of endogenous dopamine (DA) by alpha-methyltyrosine (alpha-MT) prevented the ability of LY 171555 to elicit all the items of behavioral stimulation including the stereotyped ones (sniffing and licking). In contrast, the ability of apomorphine to induce stereotypies was not reduced by depletion of endogenous DA by alpha-MT pretreatment. Blockade of D-1 receptors with SCH 23390 abolished the capacity of both LY 171555 and apomorphine to elicit all the items of behavioral stimulation. In alpha-MT pretreated rats, administration of low doses of the D-1 agonist SKF 38393 (2.5 mg/kg s.c.) reinstated the ability of LY 171555 to elicit behavioral stimulation and eventually conferred the ability of inducing gnawing. The results support the hypothesis that stimulation of D-1 receptors exerts a permissive role for the expression of behavioral stimulation following D-2 receptor stimulation. Endogenous DA appears to provide sufficient D-1 input to permit full expression of yawning, genital grooming, exploratory behavior, downward sniffing and licking following D-2 stimulation; pharmacological stimulation of D-1 in addition to D-2 receptors seems however necessary for full expression of the highest rank stereotypy item, gnawing.