Recent studies have reported the regional distribution of D(4) dopamine receptors in the rat striatum at the cellular and subcellular levels. However, the precise identity of the striatal neurons that express these receptors remains unknown. We have studied the expression of D(4) receptors in the striatal interneurons as well as in the output regions of the striatum using immunohistochemistry. Furthermore, we have evaluated the contribution of the striatum to D(4) receptor immunoreactivity in these areas by means of ibotenic acid lesion of the striatum. D(4) receptors were observed in the substantia nigra pars reticulata (SNr), the entopeduncular nucleus (EP) and the globus pallidus (GP), and they were found, using electron microscopy, to be located presynaptically. D(4) immunoreactivity in the striatal output nuclei was observed to dramatically decrease following lesion of the striatum with ibotenic acid. Striatal interneurons were not found to express D(4) receptors. These results demonstrate that D(4) receptors are located almost exclusively in striatal projection neurons, in both striatonigral and striatopallidal neurons.