High frequency stimulation (130 Hz) of the subthalamic nucleus has dramatic beneficial motor effects in severe parkinsonian patients. However, the mechanisms underlying these clinical results remain obscure. The objective of the present work was to study the neurochemical changes induced in rats by high frequency stimulation of the subthalamic nucleus by using intracerebral microdialysis within its target structures. Our results show that high frequency stimulation of the subthalamic nucleus induces a significant increase of extracellular glutamate levels in the ipsilateral globus pallidus and substantia nigra while GABA was augmented only in the substantia nigra. These data suggest that functional effects induced by high frequency stimulation of the subthalamic nucleus might imply distal mechanisms involving the synaptic relationships with the subthalamic efferences. They question the current view that the direct inhibition of the subthalamic neurons is induced by high frequency stimulation.