Local lesion of the dopaminergic (DA) terminals of the nucleus accumbens have been described to reproduce part of the behavioral deficits evoked by the lesion of the whole mesocorticolimbic DA system. The most straightforward interpretation of these results would be that the DA innervation of the nucleus accumbens is necessary for and critically involved in the normal performance of the given behaviors. However, while giving some indication as to the necessity of the integrity of this DA innervation for normal behaviors, such an approach cannot reveal whether the presence of the DA innervation of other mesocorticolimbic areas (e.g. amygdala, septum, etc.) is also required. In order to approach this question, the behavioral effects of DA grafts implanted into the nucleus accumbens of rats were evaluated following two different 6-hydroxydopamine-induced lesions: a lesion restricted to the anterior DA field (DA terminals of the nucleus accumbens and to a lesser degree the frontal cortex and anteromedial striatum) or a lesion of the whole mesocorticolimbic DA system. The latter lesion induces a disappearance of the DA innervation of the nucleus accumbens as well as the amygdala, septum, etc. Both kinds of lesions led to locomotor hypoactivity, loss of locomotor activation by amphetamine, increased locomotor stimulation to apomorphine, decrease of exploratory activity and loss of hoarding behavior. These deficits were not seen in grafted animals bearing a local lesion of the DA innervation of this structure. For some of these recoveries, however, a pharmacological stimulation of the grafted neurons was required to reveal the effect of the graft. In the case of the total lesion of the mesocorticolimbic DA system, only locomotor dysfunctions were compensated by the intra-accumbens DA implants, while the other deficits remained intact, irrespective of a stimulation of the graft. These results indicate that the re-establishment of the DA innervation of the nucleus accumbens is a sufficient condition for the compensation of locomotor deficits, irrespective of the presence of the DA terminals in more posterior limbic structures, while for deficits of more complex behaviors the simultaneous presence of posterior DA innervations is also required. This latter requirement suggests the existence of some cooperativity between the different central DA terminal areas for the normal performance of behaviors.