There is increasing evidence that a dysfunction of the dopaminergic system may be involved in the pathogenesis of idiopathic dystonia. To visualize possible alterations of the pre- and postsynaptic side of striatal dopaminergic synapses, SPECT studies using the radiotracers [123I] epidepride and [123I] beta-CIT were performed in 10 patients with idiopathic cervical dystonia. Eleven age- and sex-matched subjects served as controls. [123I] Epidepride is a new highly affine marker of D2 receptors, and [123I] beta-CIT binds to dopamine transporters on dopaminergic nerve endings. [123I] Epidepride binding was significantly reduced in both striata of dystonia patients compared with controls (p < 0.05). In contrast, striatal [123I beta-CIT uptake did not differ from controls. We conclude that dopaminergic dysfunction in idiopathic focal dystonia mainly involves postsynaptic mechanisms and suggest a disturbance of the indirect pathway of the motor circuit resulting in a disinhibited thalamocortical stimulation.