The two D1-like dopamine receptor subtypes, D1a and D1b, are structurally similar and pharmacologically indistinguishable using currently available ligands. To differentiate between the D1-like dopamine receptor subtypes, murine monoclonal antibodies to the rat Dla and the rat D1b dopamine receptor have been prepared. Rat D1-like and D2-like dopamine receptors expressed in Sf9 cells were used to verify the immunospecificity of the monoclonal anti-(D1a dopamine receptor) and anti-(D1b dopamine receptor) antibodies using immunoblot and immunohistochemical techniques. These two antibodies were used to compare the temporal dynamics of D1-like dopamine receptors expressed in Sf9 cells following infection with recombinant baculovirus and to monitor the partial purification of detergent solubilized receptors following ion exchange chromatography. Immunoreactivity of the anti-(D1a receptor) antibody was observed in the striatum and cortical regions of the rat brain using immunoblot techniques. No reactivity on immunoblots was observed for the anti-(D1b receptor) antibody using rat brain tissue, probably due to the low levels of receptor expression. For immunohistochemical studies using rat brain slices, the anti-(D1a receptor) antibody heterogeneously labeled cells and punctate processes within the striatal neuropil while labeling in the adjacent cerebral cortex was weak. Anti-(D1b receptor) antibody immunoreactivity was weak in the .striatum and generally limited to sparse perikarya in the dorsal region. However, immunoreactivity was observed in numerous cells within the vertical and horizontal limbs of the diagonal band and in the ventral pallidum. Immunoreactivity of the anti-(D1b receptor) antibody was also observed in layer V pyramidal neurons of the frontal sensorimotor cortex.