The dopamine (DA) D2-like family of receptors is comprised of three subtypes, the D2, D3, and D4 receptors. It has been suggested that the potency of DA receptor agonists to produce hypothermia and hypolocomotion in rodents correlates more strongly with the in vitro affinity for, or potency (mitogenesis test) at the D3 than at the D2 subtype. However, it has recently been reported that when tested in DA D3 receptor knock-out mice, several DA D2/D3 receptor agonists (7-OH-DPAT, PD 128907 and quinelorane) induced levels of hypothermia and decreases of locomotor activity similar to those obtained in control (wild-type) mice. These results do not argue in favour of an implication of DA D3 receptors in these in vivo effects. In order to investigate whether the DA D2 receptor is the subtype that mediates hypothermia and hypolocomotion produced by DA D2/D3 receptor agonists, we tested the effects of ip administration of the DA D2/D3 receptor agonists 7-OH-DPAT and PD 128907, on core temperature and locomotor activity in DA D2 receptor knock-out mice (homozygotes: D2(-/-) and heterozygotes: D2(+/-)), and in wild-type (D2(+/+)) mice. 7-OH-DPAT (0.1-3 mg/kg) and PD 128907 (1-10 mg/kg) induced hypothermia and decreased locomotion in D2(+/+) mice, but had no effects in D2(-/-) mice; the magnitude of the hypothermic and locomotor-reducing effects of these two agonists in D2(+/+) mutants was approximately half that of D2(+/+) mice. During the first 10 min in the activity chambers, the level of spontaneous locomotor activity of D2(-/-) individuals was almost 50% below that of D2(+/+) mice; basal locomotor activity of D2(+/-) mice was between that of D2(-/-) and D2(+/+) individuals. Neither type of mutant showed spontaneous catalepsy or deficits in forelimb muscle strength (grip-strength test). These results show that the presence of DA D2 receptors is necessary for the expression of the locomotor- and core temperature-decreasing effects of DA D2/D3 receptor agonists such as 7-OH-DPAT and PD 128907.