[3H]Imipramine was accumulated by rat hypothalamic slices mostly by a passive low-affinity process. Accumulated [3H]imipramine was released by 60 mM potassium, but the release was small and was not Ca2+-dependent. Imipramine induced some release of [3H]norepinephrine. None of these events were abolished by pretreatment of the rats with reserpine. These results do not favor the view that imipramine acts as a false transmitter in the rat hypothalamus. Rather, imipramine appears to be accumulated in an extragranular pool from which it releases extragranular norepinephrine.