Objective We aimed to investigate the hypothesis that sigma receptor ligands, haloperidol and ifenprodil, attenuate hypoxia-induced striatal dopamine release in vitro and determine the possible mechanisms. Methods Extracellular concentrations of dopamine were measured using acute brain slices method under hypoxic, aglycemic and ischemic conditions. Sigma receptor ligands haloperidol and ifenprodil attenuate striatal dopamine release induced by hypoxia in contrast to aglycemia and ischemia. To determine the possible contribution of glutamatergic system on this effect, we compared the effect of NMDA receptor antagonist MK-801 and haloperidol in hypoxia induced by Na-K-ATPaz enzyme inhibitor ouabain. Also, we compared the effect of dopamine uptake blocker nomifensine and haloperidol to determine the role of dopamine transporter on this effect. Results Haloperidol and nomifensine almost completely abolish ouabain-induced dopamine release unlike MK-801. Different effects of sigma ligands and glutamate receptor antagonists on the hypoxia and ouabain induced dopamine release show that glutamate receptor blockade is partial involved in inhibitory effect of sigma ligand on dopamine release under hypoxic conditions. Similar effect of dopamine uptake blocker nomifensine and sigma receptor ligand haloperidol on ouabain induced dopamine release supports the possibility that inhibition of reverse dopamine transport by sigma ligands might be involved in their protective effect. Conclusions Data in this study suggest that sigma ligands may be a new therapeutic intervention for the management of hypoxic conditions.