Cortical glutamatergic and nigral dopaminergic afferents impinge on projection spiny neurons of the striatum, providing the most significant inputs to this structure. Isolated activation of glutamate or dopamine (DA) receptors produces short-term effects on striatal neurons, whereas the combined stimulation of both glutamate and DA receptors is able to induce long-lasting modifications of synaptic excitability. Repetitive stimulation of corticostriatal fibres causes a massive release of both glutamate and DA in the striatum and, depending on the glutamate receptor subtype preferentially activated, produces either long-term depression (LTD) or long-term potentiation (LTP) of excitatory synaptic transmission. D1-like and D2-like DA receptors interact synergistically to allow LTD formation, while they operate in opposition during the induction phase of LTP. Corticostriatal synaptic plasticity is severely impaired after chronic DA denervation and requires the stimulation of DARPP-32, a small protein expressed in dopaminoceptive spiny neurons which acts as a potent inhibitor of protein phosphatase-1. In addition, the formation of LTD and LTP requires the activation of PKG and PKA, respectively, in striatal projection neurons. These kinases appear to be stimulated by the activation of D1-like receptors in distinct neuronal populations.