The effects of prior treatment with cysteamine, a drug which appears to deplete selectively the neuropeptide somatostatin, on apomorphine-induced stereotypy and amphetamine-induced locomotor activity and conditioned place preferences were investigated. Twelve hours following systemic cysteamine injections apomorphine-induced stereotypy was attenuated and striatal somatostatin levels were reduced by half. Systemic cysteamine also decreased the motor stimulant effects of amphetamine, without influencing the rewarding properties as determined by the conditioned place preference procedure. Direct injections of cysteamine into the nucleus accumbens also decreased the locomotor response to amphetamine, and produced a local reduction in somatostatin levels in the accumbens. Cysteamine did not appear to alter monoamine turnover in the striatum after either systemic or intra-accumbens injections. These results suggest that somatostatin in the nucleus accumbens and caudate-putamen modulates the motor, but not the reinforcing properties of dopaminergic drugs, possibly via an action postsynaptic to dopamine-releasing terminals. Furthermore, it is evident from these results that cysteamine is an important tool with which to study the central actions of somatostatin.