Dopamine receptors in human brain: autoradiographic distribution of D2 sites

Neuroscience. 1989;28(2):275-90. doi: 10.1016/0306-4522(89)90179-6.


We have studied the detailed anatomical distribution of D2 receptors in human post mortem brain tissue using quantitative autoradiographic techniques. D2 receptors were labeled using the specific D2 agonist [3H]CV 205-502 and the antagonist [3H]spiroperidol. The pattern of D2 receptor distribution observed with the two ligands was very similar. The highest densities were found in the nucleus caudatus, putamen, nucleus accumbens and olfactory tubercle followed by the substantia nigra, where D2 receptors were mainly concentrated in the pars compacta. Lower but still significant densities were associated with the lateral part of the globus pallidus and CA1 and CA3 fields of the hippocampus. The medial part of the globus pallidus, the dentate gyrus and the amygdala showed low to very low densities of D2 receptors. Almost negligible amounts of binding were observed in the olfactory bulb, diencephalon, brainstem, cerebellum and most parts of the neocortex. Our results are comparable with previously reported localizations of D2 receptors in the human and rat brain. We also report the lack of the so-called spirodecanone binding sites in the human brain. The localization of D2 receptors is compared with the distribution of D1 receptors.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aging / metabolism
  • Autoradiography
  • Binding Sites
  • Brain / metabolism*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Postmortem Changes
  • Receptors, Dopamine / metabolism*
  • Receptors, Dopamine D2
  • Spiperone / metabolism
  • Time Factors
  • Tissue Distribution
  • Tritium


  • Receptors, Dopamine
  • Receptors, Dopamine D2
  • Tritium
  • Spiperone