Altered hippocampal function and brain serotonin activity are implicated in the development and symptoms of schizophrenia. We have previously shown that lesions of the median raphe nucleus, but not the dorsal raphe nucleus, produced a marked enhancement of locomotor hyperactivity induced by phencyclidine and disruption of prepulse inhibition. The dorsal and ventral hippocampus receive serotonin projections predominantly from the median raphe nucleus and dorsal raphe nucleus, respectively. Therefore, we investigated the effect of local lesions of serotonin projections into the dorsal and ventral hippocampus on psychotomimetic drug-induced locomotor hyperactivity and prepulse inhibition. Male Sprague-Dawley rats were anaesthetized with pentobarbitone and stereotaxically microinjected with 5 microg of the serotonergic neurotoxin 5,7-dihydroxytryptamine into either the dorsal or the ventral hippocampus. Two weeks after surgery, dorsal hippocampus-lesioned rats showed a 100% enhancement of the locomotor hyperactivity caused by phencyclidine treatment and a slight but significant reduction of the effect of amphetamine. Prepulse inhibition was significantly disrupted in lesioned rats and serotonin levels in the dorsal hippocampus were reduced by 80%. Rats with lesions of the ventral hippocampus showed 85% depletion of serotonin and partial disruption of prepulse inhibition, but no significant changes in the effect of phencyclidine or amphetamine. These results suggest that serotonin projections from the median raphe nucleus to the dorsal hippocampus play an important role in locomotor hyperactivity and prepulse inhibition in rats, animal models of aspects of schizophrenia. This suggests that these serotonin projections may be involved in the pathophysiology of schizophrenia symptomology.