The arylalkylamine, pindolol, may potentiate the clinical actions of antidepressant agents. Although it is thought to act via blockade of 5-HT1A autoreceptors, its efficacy at these sites remains controversial. Herein, we evaluated the actions of pindolol at 5-HT1A autoreceptors and specific populations of postsynaptic 5-HT1A receptors employing [35S]GTPgammaS autoradiography, a measure of receptor-mediated G-protein activation. Both 8-OH-DPAT (1 microM) and 5-HT (10 microM) elicited a pronounced increase in [35S]GTPyS binding in the dorsal raphe nucleus, which contains serotonergic cell bodies bearing 5-HT1A autoreceptors. Pindolol abolished their actions. In the dentate gyrus, lateral septum and entorhinal cortex, structures enriched in postsynaptic 5-HT1A receptors, 8-OH-DPAT (1 microM) and 5-HT (10 microM) also elicited a marked increase in [35S]GTPgammaS binding which was likewise blocked by pindolol. The antagonism of 5-HT-induced [35S]GTPgammaS labelling in the dentate gyrus was shown to be concentration-dependent, yielding a pIC50 of 5.82. Pindolol did not, itself, affect [35S]GTPgammaS binding in any brain region examined. In conclusion, these data suggest that, as characterised by [35S]GTPgammaS autoradiography, and compared with 5-HT and 8-OH-DPAT, pindolol possesses low efficacy at both pre- and postsynaptic 5-HT1A receptors.