Although certain antiparkinson agents interact with serotonin (5-HT) receptors, little information is available concerning functional actions. Herein, we characterized efficacies of apomorphine, bromocriptine, cabergoline, lisuride, piribedil, pergolide, roxindole, and terguride at human (h)5-HT(1A), h5-HT(1B), and h5-HT(1D) receptors [guanosine 5'-O-(3-[(35)S]thio)triphosphate ([(35)S]GTPgammaS) binding], and at h5-HT(2A), h5-HT(2B), and h5-HT(2C) receptors (depletion of membrane-bound [(3)H]phosphatydilinositol). All drugs stimulated h5-HT(1A) receptors with efficacies (compared with 5-HT, 100%) ranging from modest (apomorphine, 35%) to high (cabergoline, 93%). At h5-HT(1B) receptors, efficacies varied from mild (terguride, 37%) to marked (cabergoline, 102%) and potencies were modest (pEC(50) values of 5.8-7.6) h5-HT(1D) sites were activated with a similar range of efficacies and greater potency (7.1-8.5). Piribedil and apomorphine were inactive at h5-HT(1B) and h5-HT(1D) receptors. At h5-HT(2A) receptors, terguride, lisuride, bromocriptine, cabergoline, and pergolide displayed potent (7.6-8.8) agonist properties (49-103%), whereas apomorphine and roxindole were antagonists and piribedil was inactive. Only pergolide (113%/8.2) and cabergoline (123%/8.6) displayed pronounced agonist properties at h5-HT(2B) receptors. At 5-HT(2C) receptors, lisuride, bromocriptine, pergolide, and cabergoline were efficacious (75-96%) agonists, apomorphine and terguride were antagonists, and piribedil was inactive. MDL100,907 and SB242,084, selective antagonists at 5-HT(2A) and 5-HT(2C) receptors, respectively, abolished these actions of pergolide, cabergoline, and bromocriptine. In conclusion, antiparkinson agents display markedly different patterns of agonist and antagonist properties at multiple 5-HT receptor subtypes. Although all show modest (agonist) activity at 5-HT(1A) sites, their contrasting actions at 5-HT(2A) and 5-HT(2C) sites may be of particular significance to their functional profiles in vivo.