Arginine vasopressin (AVP) causes severe motor disturbances, including barrel rotations and myotonic/myoclonic convulsions, following repeated injections into either a lateral cerebral ventricle or the ventral septal area (VSA) of the rat brain. Because the AVP content of the rat septal area has been shown to be virtually eliminated following long- term castration, and because removal of a receptor ligand typically results in receptor upregulation and behavioral supersensitivity to the ligand, we tested the hypothesis that long-term castrated rats may be supersensitive to the motor actions caused by centrally injected AVP and may have upregulated septal AVP receptors. In these experiments, adult male Wistar rats were used 5 months after castration or, as controls, after sham castration. The effectiveness of long-term castration in eliminating AVP content of the VSA was indicated by the observation that a priming hypertonic saline stimulus (known to induce the central release of AVP and sensitize the rat brain) sensitized the brains of sham control rats but not of the castrated rats to the motor actions of a subsequent intracerbroventricular injection of AVP. The motor actions of centrally injected AVP, as well as septal AVP receptor characteristics (number and affinity), and AVP-stimulated phosphoinositide (PI) hydrolysis were then investigated in long-term castrated and sham control rats. Motor disturbances induced by either a first or a second injection of AVP were not greater in long-term castrated rats than in sham controls.