Dopamine D2 receptor gene expression was examined in rat striatum after chronic treatment with N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) receptor antagonists (ketamine at 15 mg/kg/day or MK-801 at 0.1, 0.2 and 0.4 mg/kg/day per os, for 50 days). The long-isoform mRNA, as well as the total D2 mRNA expression were induced. No change was noticed in striatal dopamine release or turnover. D2 binding studies carried out in MK-801 chronically treated (0.3 mg/kg/day per os, for 50 days) and control rats revealed an increased receptor density in treated animals without a significant change in receptor affinity. These results suggest that the synthesis of both striatal D2 receptor isoforms is postsynaptically regulated at the transcriptional level, by events triggered by glutamate through the NMDA-type receptor.