A method for determining drug concentration relationships between plasma and cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) in rats is described. Continuous CSF samples were collected directly from the third anterior ventricle with an indwelling cannula inserted through the bregma point, and drug concentrations were determined by high-pressure liquid chromatography and radioimmunoassay micromethods. Three antibiotics with different abilities to cross the blood-CSF barrier (chloramphenicol, piperacillin, and gentamicin) were tested. This method was found to be reproducible for each drug even if the antibiotic levels were low and the sample volumes very small. Peak CSF concentrations occurred between 0.75 and 1.25 h after injection for all three antibiotics. Percent penetration values at 1 h were 50, 1.2, and 5.4% for chloramphenicol, piperacillin, and gentamicin, respectively.