1 The effect of thiopentone, methohexitone, urethane and ketamine on the uptake and release of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) and D-aspartate by rat thalamic slices has been investigated. 2 A high, supra-anaesthetic concentration of methohexitone increased the uptake of both D-aspartate and GABA. 3 None of the anaesthetics used had any detectable effect upon the spontaneous release of either amino acid. 4 Urethane and ketamine had no effect upon the K+-stimulated release of either amino acid. 5 Methohexitone and thiopentone produced a biphasic dose-response on the K+-stimulated release of both amino acids; low concentrations enhanced release, high concentrations depressed release. 6 Bicuculline hydrochloride and picrotoxin both significantly reduced the barbiturate-induced enhancement of K+-stimulated amino acid release, but did not significantly alter the depression of K+-stimulated release at higher barbiturate concentrations. 7 Baclofen, either alone (1 microM to 1 mM), or tested against the barbiturates, had no detectable effect.