Single injections of cocaine, amphetamine, or methamphetamine increased RGS2 mRNA levels in rat striatum by two- to fourfold. The D1 dopamine receptor-selective antagonist SCH-23390 had no effect by itself but strongly attenuated RGS2 mRNA induction by amphetamine. In contrast, the D2 receptor-selective antagonist raclopride induced RGS2 mRNA when administered alone and greatly enhanced stimulation by amphetamine. To examine the effects of repeated amphetamine on RGS2 expression, rats were treated with escalating doses of amphetamine (1.0-7.5 mg/kg) for 4 days, followed by 8 days of multiple daily injections (7.5 mg/kg/2 h x four injections). Twenty hours after the last injection the animals were challenged with amphetamine (7.5 mg/kg) or vehicle and killed 1 h later. In drug-naive animals, acute amphetamine induced the expression of RGS2, 3, and 5 and the immediate early genes c-fos and zif/268. RGS4 mRNA levels were not affected. Prior repeated treatment with amphetamine strongly suppressed induction of immediate early genes and RGS5 to a challenge dose of amphetamine. In sharp contrast, prior exposure to amphetamine did not reduce the induction of RGS2 and RGS3 mRNAs to a challenge dose of amphetamine, indicating that control of these genes is resistant to amphetamine-induced tolerance. These data establish a role for dopamine receptors in the regulation of RGS2 expression and suggest that RGS2 and 3 might mediate some aspects of amphetamine-induced tolerance.