Dopamine (DA), the most abundant catecholamine in the basal ganglia, participates in the regulation of motor functions and of cognitive processes such as learning and memory. Abnormalities in dopaminergic systems are thought to be the bases for some neuropsychiatric disorders including addiction, Parkinson's disease, and Schizophrenia. DA exerts its arrays of functions via stimulation of D1-like (D1 and D5) and D2-like (D2, D3, and D4) DA receptors which are located in various regions of the brain. The DA D1 and D2 receptors are very abundant in the basal ganglia where they exert their functions within separate neuronal cell types. The present paper focuses on a review of the effects of stimulation of DA D1 receptors on diverse signal transduction pathways and gene expression patterns in the brain. We also discuss the possible involvement of the DA D1 receptors in DA-mediated toxic effects observed both in vitro and in vivo. Future studies using more selective agonist and antagonist agents and the use of genetically modified animals should help to further clarify the role of these receptors in the normal physiology and in pathological events that involve DA.