The effect of the antidepressant agent, tianeptine, on the hypothalamo-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis was studied in adult male rats under basal and stressed conditions. Chronic treatment with tianeptine (10 mg/kg; 2 weeks; twice a day) induced a significant decrease of hypothalamic CRF (–12%) and pituitary ACTH concentrations (–21%), suggesting that tianeptine reduces the activity of hypothalamic CRF neurons and pituitary corticotrophs. The possible effect of tianeptine in the neuroendocrine response to stress was thus investigated. Rats were submitted to restraint stress for 30 min; under these conditions ACTH and corticosterone levels were considerably increased. A single injection of tianeptine was found to significantly reduce stress-evoked elevations of plasma ACTH and corticosterone. Time-course experiments, consisting of administering tianeptine 1–3 h before immobilization stress, revealed that the maximum inhibitory effect of tianeptine occurs about 2 h after injection of the antidepressant. Administration of various doses of tianeptine (from 2.5 to 20 mg/kg) showed that the effect of the drug was dose-dependent; the maximum effective dose being 10 mg/kg. Taken together, these data indicate that tianeptine may exert original ‘anti-stress’ activity.