Substantial pharmacological evidence is consistent with an inhibitory effect of D3 receptor activation on dopamine (DA) release. Although receptor selectivity of the ligands employed in initial studies has been questioned, studies employing new, more selective, compounds continue to support an involvement of this receptor subtype in regulating extracellular dopamine levels in the dorsal striatum and nucleus accumbens. Consistent with this hypothesis, microdialysis studies have shown that the dose-effect curve for (+)-PD 128907, a moderately selective D3 agonist, is shifted to the right in D3 knock out mice. The present microdialysis studies sought to further examine the role of D2 vs. D3 receptors in mediating (+)-PD 128907-evoked alterations in basal and depolarization-evoked DA levels. Dialysate DA levels were determined in D2 knock out mice and wild type littermate controls following both systemic and local administration of (+)-PD 128907. In view of regional differences in D3 receptor localization, studies were conducted in the nucleus accumbens, a D3 receptor rich area, and in the dorsal striatum, a region with low D3 receptor abundance. Systemic or reverse dialysis of (+)-PD 128907 into the nucleus accumbens significantly decreased basal and depolarization-evoked DA levels in wild type mice. A similar effect was observed in the dorsal striatum. Regardless of the route of administration, (+)-PD 128907 was ineffective in modulating DA levels in either brain region of D2 knock out mice. These data contrast with previous results in D3 knock out mice and indicate that the D2 receptor is necessary for the inhibition of presynaptic DA neurotransmission produced by a preferential D3 agonist. Based on the documented physical interaction of D2 and D3 receptors in heterologous expression systems, we put forth a hypothesis that reconciles the seemingly paradoxical results of this and previous microdialysis studies.