The purpose of the present study was to determine whether repeated treatment with the D2 partial agonist aripiprazole or the D2 antagonist haloperidol alters dopamine (DA) synthesis characteristics in the dorsal striatum of young rats. To this end, rats received a daily pretreatment regimen of aripiprazole or haloperidol on postnatal days (PD) 10-20 and were tested 24 or 72 h later after an acute injection of vehicle, aripiprazole, haloperidol, or quinpirole (a D2 agonist). For comparison purposes, adult rats were pretreated with an 11-day regimen of saline or haloperidol on PD 70-80 and DA synthesis was measured after acute drug treatment on PD 83. Dorsal striatal DA synthesis was determined by measuring L-dihydroxyphenylalanine accumulation after NSD-1015 treatment. In a separate experiment, the ability of repeated drug treatment to up-regulate dorsal striatal D2 receptors was assessed in young and adult rats 72 h after drug discontinuation. The major findings of this study were that: (a) acute treatment with haloperidol and aripiprazole increased DA synthesis while quinpirole reduced it; (b) pretreatment with haloperidol and aripiprazole blunted the synthesis-modulating effects of acutely administered dopaminergic drugs; and (c) DA synthesis of young and adult rats was affected in a qualitatively similar manner by DA agonist, antagonist, and partial agonist drugs. In conclusion, results from the present study suggest that synthesis-modulating autoreceptors in the dorsal striatum are functionally mature by the end of the preweanling period and DA synthesis declines to near basal levels during the course of repeated aripiprazole treatment.