Abstract Experiments were designed to test the hypothesis that activation of forebrain 5-HT 1A receptors elicits cardiovascular responses. The microinjection of R-(+)-8-hydroxy-2-(di- n-propylamino) tetralin [(+)-8-OH-DPAT], a selective 5-HT 1A receptor agonist, in the preoptic area of conscious rats increased blood pressure and heart rate at doses of 0.2–20 nmol; lower doses (0.002 and 0.02 nmol) were ineffective. The concomitant administration of methiothepin, a non-selective 5-HT receptor antagonist, into the preoptic area attenuated the responses. In addition, he tachycardia elicited by (+)-8-OH-DPAT was abolished by the peripheral β-adrenoceptor antagonist sotalol, but not by atropine methyl nitrate. Finally, the tachycardia, but not the hypertension, was also produced by (+)-8-OH-DPAT in urethane-anesthetized rats. These results suggest that activation of 5-HT 1A receptors in the preoptic area or an adjacent region of the forebrain produces: (1) an increase in heart rate consistent with sympathoadrenal activation; and (2) an increase in blood pressure which might be the result of sympathoexcitation or secondary to behavioral arousal.