The present study was undertaken to evaluate the possible functional implications of the previously demonstrated in vitro interactions between galanin and 5-HT1A receptors. To this end we analysed the interactions between galanin and the 5-HT1A receptor agonist 8-OH-2-(di-n-propylamino)-tetralin (8-OH-DPAT) in central cardiovascular regulation. 8-OH-DPAT given intracisternally (i.c.) produced a dose-dependent reduction of blood pressure, the peak action being 32% at 10 nmol of 8-OH-DPAT. Heart rate and respiration rate were not affected. The vasodepressor action of 8-OH-DPAT was counteracted by the 5-HT1A receptor antagonist 1-(2-methoxyphenyl)-4-[4-(2-phthalimido)butyl]piperazine (NAN-190). A threshold dose (1 nmol) of galanin given i.c. was shown to enhance the vasodepressor effect of both an ED50 dose and a threshold dose of 8-OH-DPAT. Quantitative receptor autoradiography showed that the IC50 values for [125I]galanin binding sites were reduced in the presence of 8-OH-DPAT (10 nM) by approximately 40% in the dorsal region of the nucleus of the solitary tract, the area postrema, and the raphe pallidus and obscurus nuclei. Galanin (10 nM) also significantly increased the IC50 value for [3H]8-OH-DPAT binding sites within the nucleus of the solitary tract. The results provide evidence for a synergistic interaction between 8-OH-DPAT and galanin in cardiovascular regulation after their central administration, an interaction possibly related to the ability of 8-OH-DPAT to enhance the affinity of the galanin receptor within regions of the medulla oblongata involved in cardiovascular control.