Samples of ventricular CSF were taken from 52 consecutive patients admitted for psychosurgery for intractable depression. Concentrations of asparagine, aspartate, glutamine, glutamic acid, and serine were determined. Glutamate and aspartate concentrations, implicated in excitotoxic brain damage, were not affected by various types of psychotropic drug treatment. Serine, a modulator of glutamate responses, was significantly elevated in samples from subjects receiving antidepressants. These subjects responded poorly to the operation. Psychotropic drugs are unlikely to be neurotoxic. Nevertheless, antidepressants may influence excitatory neurotransmission.