The distribution of the dopamine D3 receptor was studied by receptor autoradiography using [3H]7-OH-DPAT in striatal and extrastriatal brain regions of the common marmoset (Callithrix jacchus). Saturation studies demonstrated that [3H]7-OH-DPAT bound with similar affinity to different regions of marmoset brain. In normal marmosets, specific [3H]7-OH-DPAT binding was found in both striatal and extrastriatal regions. Very high levels of specific [3H]7-OH-DPAT binding were detected in the islands of Calleja and nucleus accumbens but in addition high levels of binding were detected in rostral caudate nucleus and putamen. In common marmosets treated with the selective nigral neurotoxin 1-methyl-4-phenyl-1,2,3,6-tetrahydropyridine (MPTP), the levels of specific [3H]7-OH-DPAT binding in striatal and extrastriatal regions were not different to those in normal animals. Chronic treatment of MPTP-treated marmosets with L-DOPA/ carbidopa did not alter the levels of specific [3H]7-OH-DPAT binding in any brain region. These results demonstrate that in common marmosets D3 receptors are located in both striatal and limbic regions. The receptor density is not altered by dopaminergic denervation or by chronic L-DOPA administration. The D3 receptor may, therefore, be important in both the therapeutic and adverse effects of drugs used to treat Parkinson's disease.