In 1979, two categories of dopamine (DA) receptors (designated as D-1 and D-2) were identified on the basis of the ability of a limited number of agonists and antagonists to discriminate between these two entities. In the past 5 years agonists and antagonists selective for each category of receptor have been identified. Using these selective drugs it has been possible to attribute the effects of DA upon physiological and biochemical processes to the stimulation of either a D-1 or a D-2 receptor. Thus, DA-induced enhancement of both hormone release from bovine parathyroid gland and firing of neurosecretory cells in the CNS of Lymnaea stagnalis has been attributed to stimulation of a D-1 receptor. Likewise, the DA-induced inhibition of the release of prolactin and alpha-MSH from the pituitary gland, as well as of acetylcholine, DA and beta-endorphin from brain, the DA-induced inhibition of chemo-sensory discharge in rabbit carotid body and the DA-induced hyperpolarization of neurosecretory cells in the CNS of Lymnaea stagnalis have been attributed to stimulation of a D-2 receptor. Independently two categories of DA receptors (designated as DA-1 and DA-2) were identified in the cardiovascular system. Stimulation of a DA-1 receptor increases the vascular cyclic AMP content and causes a relaxation of vascular smooth muscle in renal blood vessels, whereas stimulation of a DA-2 receptor inhibits the release of norepinephrine from certain postganglionic sympathetic neurons. Recent studies with the newly developed drugs discriminating between D-1 and D-2 receptors suggest however that the independently developed schemata for classification of dopamine receptors in either the central nervous and endocrine systems or the cardiovascular system are similar although maybe not completely identical.