Astressin, a novel corticotropin releasing factor (CRF) antagonist, has been found to be particularly potent at inhibiting the hypothalamo-pituitary-adrenal axis. The aim of the present study was to determine the effects in rats of astressin in attenuating the anxiogenic-like response produced by social stress and intracerebroventricular (ICV) CRF administration on the elevated plus-maze, and ICV CRF-induced locomotor activation in the rat. Astressin significantly reversed the anxiogenic-like response induced by both social stress and ICV rat/humanCRF (r/hCRF) on the elevated plus-maze, but failed to block the effects of r/hCRF-induced locomotor activity in a familiar environment. When these results were compared to previous studies performed with the same paradigms using other CRF antagonists, astressin showed effects similar to those of D-PheCRF(12-41) on plus-maze performance. However, contrary to alpha-helicalCRF(9-41) and D-PheCRF(12-41), astressin had no effect on CRF-induced locomotor activity. These results suggest that astressin may have a unique anti-CRF profile compared to previously tested antagonists.