Neurotensin interacts with central dopamine systems and has been suggested to exert antipsychotic drug-like actions. Antipsychotic drugs such as haloperidol induce striatal immediate-early gene expression. In order to study neurotensin's role in antipsychotic drug actions, rats were pretreated with the neurotensin antagonist SR 48692 and then injected with haloperidol. SR 48692 dose-dependently decreased haloperidol-elicited immediate-early gene expression in the dorsolateral and central striatum but not other striatal areas. SR 48692 reduced Fos expression in the striatal patch (striosome) and matrix compartments, with a significantly greater effect in the patch. These data suggest that neurotensin may play a role in the actions of haloperidol. In view of proposed functional roles of the striatal patch and matrix, we suggest that neurotensin may be important in the therapeutic rather than side effects of antipsychotic drugs.