The aim of the present study was to investigate a putative modulation of rat 5-HT system by the muscarinic receptor antagonist atropine using in-vivo electrophysiological and behavioural techniques. In the dorsal raphe nucleus, administration of atropine (1 mg/kg i.v.) prevented the suppressant effect of the selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor paroxetine (0.5 mg/kg i.v.) on the spontaneous firing activity of 5-HT neurons, suggesting that atropine could induce an attenuation of somatodendritic 5-HT1A autoreceptors responsiveness. The 5-HT1A receptor agonist 8-OH-DPAT decreased both immobility in the forced swim test and the body core temperature. Pre-treatment with atropine (5 and 10 mg/kg i.p.) enhanced antidepressant-like effect of 8-OH-DPAT (1 mg/kg s.c.) and reduced 8-OH-DPAT (0.1 mg/kg s.c.)-induced hypothermia. In conclusion, the present study reports a functional role of muscarinic receptors in the modulation of pre- and post-synaptic 5-HT1A receptors mediated responses.