Numerous in vivo studies have shown that dopamine is involved in the regulation of LH secretion in mammals. However, the mechanisms through which this occurs are not known. In this study, we used green fluorescent protein-tagged GnRH neurons to examine whether and how dopamine may modulate the activity of adult GnRH neurons in the mouse. Bath-applied dopamine (10-80 μm) potently inhibited the firing of approximately 50% of GnRH neurons. This resulted from direct postsynaptic inhibitory actions through D1-like, D2-like, or both receptors. Further, one third of GnRH neurons exhibited an increase in their basal firing rate after administration of SCH23390 (D1-like antagonist) and/or raclopride (D2-like antagonist) indicating tonic inhibition by endogenous dopamine in the brain slice. The role of dopamine in presynaptic modulation of the anteroventral periventricular nucleus (AVPV) γ-aminobutyric acid/glutamate input to GnRH neurons was examined. Exogenous dopamine was found to presynaptically inhibit AVPV-evoked γ-aminobutyric acid /glutamate postsynaptic currents in about 50% of GnRH neurons. These effects were, again, mediated by both D1- and D2-like receptors. Neither postsynaptic nor presynaptic actions of dopamine were found to be different between diestrous, proestrous, and estrous females, or males. Approximately 20% of GnRH neurons were shown to receive a dopaminergic input from AVPV neurons in male and female mice. Together, these observations show that dopamine is one of the most potent inhibitors of GnRH neuron excitability and that this is achieved through complex pre- and postsynaptic actions that each involve D1- and D2-like receptor activation.