Molecular biology studies have demonstrated that human peripheral blood lymphocytes express dopamine D2-like receptors belonging to the D3 and D4 receptor subtypes, whereas the characterization of these receptors using radioligand binding assay techniques provided conflicting results. The preferential dopamine D3 receptor agonist [3H]7-hydroxy-N, N-di-n-propyl-2-aminotetralin ([3H]7-OH-DPAT) was used recently for labeling lymphocyte dopamine D3 receptor. However, the selectivity of this compound for the D3 receptor was questioned. In this study we have investigated human peripheral blood lymphocyte dopamine receptor subtypes labeled by [3H]7-OH-DPAT using a conventional radioligand binding assay technique and antibodies against dopamine D2-like receptor subtypes. [3H]7-OH-DPAT was specifically bound to intact human peripheral blood lymphocytes with a dissociation constant (Kd) value of 0.32 + 0.03 nM and a maximum density of binding sites (Bmax) of 18.2 + 0.8 fmol/2 x 10(6) cells. [3H]7-OH-DPAT binding was unaffected by antibodies against dopamine D2 and D2S receptors. Anti-dopamine D3 and D4 receptor antibodies reduced [3H]7-OH-DPAT binding by about 53% and 32% respectively. Combination of anti D3 and D4 receptor antibodies reduced remarkably [3H]7-OH-DPAT binding. The above results suggest that the dopamine receptor agonist [3H]7-OH-DPAT labels dopamine D3 and D4 receptor subtypes in human peripheral blood lymphocytes. The use of antibodies raised against dopamine receptor subtypes in combination with radioligand binding assay may contribute to define receptor subtypes expressed by human peripheral blood lymphocytes in health and disease.