Positron emission tomography (PET) studies have shown decreased glucose metabolism in brain regions of detoxified alcoholics and cocaine abusers. However, it is not clear whether this decrease is due to chronic drug abuse or a pre-existing condition. Molecular genetic studies have found an association of the D2 dopamine receptor (DRD2) A1 allele with alcoholism and drug abuse. Moreover, reduced central dopaminergic function has been suggested in subjects who carry the A1 allele (A1+) compared with those who do not (A1-). In the present study, using 18F-deoxyglucose, regional glucose metabolism was determined in healthy nonalcohol/nondrug-abusing subjects with the A1+ or A1- allele. The mean relative glucose metabolic rate (GMR) was significantly lower in the A1+ than the A1- group in many brain regions, including the putamen, nucleus accumbens, frontal and temporal gyri and medial prefrontal, occipito-temporal and orbital cortices. Decreased relative GMR in the A1+ group was also found in Broca's area, anterior insula, hippocampus, and substantia nigra. A few brain areas, however, showed increased relative GMR in the A1+ group. Since polymorphism of the DRD2 gene is commonly observed in humans, the importance of differentiating A1+ and A1- alleles subjects in PET studies is suggested.