Getting specialized: presynaptic and postsynaptic dopamine D2 receptors

Curr Opin Pharmacol. 2009 Feb;9(1):53-8. doi: 10.1016/j.coph.2008.12.002. Epub 2009 Jan 8.


Dopamine (DA) signaling controls many physiological functions ranging from locomotion to hormone secretion, and plays a critical role in addiction. DA elevation, for instance in response to drugs of abuse, simultaneously activates neurons expressing different DA receptors; how responses from diverse neurons/receptors are orchestrated in the generation of behavioral and cellular outcomes, is still not completely defined. Signaling from D2 receptors (D2Rs) is a good example to illustrate this complexity. D2Rs have presynaptic and postsynaptic localization and functions, which are shared by two isoforms in vivo. Recent results from knockout mice are clarifying the role of site and D2 isoform-specific effects thereby increasing our understanding of how DA modulates neuronal physiology.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cocaine / pharmacology
  • Dopamine / physiology*
  • Dopamine D2 Receptor Antagonists
  • Mice
  • Mice, Knockout
  • Motor Activity / drug effects
  • Mutation
  • Neurons / physiology
  • Receptors, Dopamine D2 / agonists
  • Receptors, Dopamine D2 / genetics
  • Receptors, Dopamine D2 / physiology*
  • Receptors, Presynaptic / agonists
  • Receptors, Presynaptic / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Receptors, Presynaptic / physiology*
  • Reinforcement, Psychology
  • Reward
  • Synapses / physiology*
  • Synaptic Transmission


  • Dopamine D2 Receptor Antagonists
  • Receptors, Dopamine D2
  • Receptors, Presynaptic
  • Cocaine
  • Dopamine