Serotonin-1A (5-HT(1A)) receptors have been implicated in the symptoms of schizophrenia. However, there is limited in vivo evidence for an interaction of antipsychotic drugs with 5-HT(1A) receptor-mediated behavioral effects. We therefore investigated in rats the action of several antipsychotic drugs on prepulse inhibition (PPI), a measure of sensorimotor gating that is deficient in schizophrenia. Disruption of PPI at the 100-ms interstimulus interval (ISI), but not the 30-ms ISI, was induced by treatment with 0.5 mg/kg 8-hydroxy-di-propylaminotetralin (8-OH-DPAT), the 5-HT(1A) receptor agonist. In rats pretreated with 0.25 mg/kg haloperidol (4-[-4-(p-chlorophenyl)-4-hydroxypiperidino]-4'-fluoro butyrophenone) or raclopride [3,5-dichloro-N-(1-ethylpyrrolidin-2-ylmethyl)-2-hydroxy-6-methoxybenzamide tartrate], the disruption of PPI was no longer significant. Of the atypical antipsychotic drugs clozapine (8-chloro-11-(4-methyl-1-piperazinyl)-5H-dibenzo[b,e][1,4]-diazepine), olanzapine (2-methyl-4-(4-methyl-1-piperazinyl)-10H-thieno[2,3-b][1,5]benzodiazepine), risperidone [3-[2-[-4-(6-fluoro-1,2-benzisoxazol-3-yl) piperidino] ethyl-6,7,8,9-tetrahydro-2-methyl-4H-pyrido[1,2-a]pyrimidin-4-one)], amisulpride (4-amino-N-[(1-ethyl-2-pyrrolidinyl)methyl]-5-(ethylsulfonyl)-o-anisamide), and aripiprazole (7-[4-[-4[-(2,3-dichlorophenyl)-1-piperazinyl]butoxy]-3,4-dihydrocarbostyrilor 7-[4-[4-(2,3-dichlorophenyl) piperazin-1-yl]butoxy]-1,2,3,4,-tetrahydroquinolin-2-one), only aripiprazole significantly reduced the effect of 8-OH-DPAT on PPI. This effect was mimicked by pretreatment with the 5-HT(1A) receptor partial agonist, buspirone [N-[4-[4-(2-pyrimidinyl)-1-piperazinyl]butyl]-8-azaspiro[4.5]decane-7,9-dione hydrochloride]. On the other hand, some of the antipsychotic drugs and other pretreatments showed complex, prepulse-dependent effects on their own. These data show little in vivo interaction of several atypical antipsychotic drugs with the disruption of PPI mediated by 5-HT(1A) receptor stimulation. The action of haloperidol and raclopride suggests a major involvement of dopamine D(2) receptors in this effect, possibly downstream from the initial serotonergic stimulation. The action of aripiprazole could be mediated by its partial agonist properties at 5-HT(1A) receptors or its dopamine D(2)-blocking properties.