This commentary is a critical evaluation of research on the significance of dopamine (DA) metabolism in the striatum of the rat. The possible sequence of DA metabolism is discussed. Special reference was given to a possible differentiation between "intra-neuronal" and "extra-neuronal" formation of DA. In addition a possible relation between drug-induced changes in DA metabolite levels to processes as release and metabolism of the transmitters, was investigated. It is concluded that our understanding of DA metabolism is still far from clear. The only consistent finding at the present time is the fact that decreased DA release is reflected by decreased 3-MT levels. It is emphasized that one should investigate complete changes in the "fingerprint" of changes of DA metabolism rather than to rely on one or two metabolites, when the influence of a drug on dopaminergic transmission is to be established.