The effects of intra-accumbens sulpiride on conditioned place preference and locomotion produced by i.v. cocaine were investigated. Every other day during conditioning, rats received infusions of sulpiride (0-0.4 microgram) into the nucleus accumbens (NAc) or caudate-putamen. Fifteen min later, they were placed into a distinct compartment and injected with saline or cocaine (4.2 mg/kg, i.v.). On the alternate days, rats received sham intracranial injections and were placed into a different compartment. Locomotion and stereotypies were assessed after the first and last injection, and conditioned place preference was assessed 24 hr after the last conditioning day. After behavioral testing, receptors occupied by sulpiride were quantified by injecting rats intracranially with their respective dose of sulpiride, followed by a systemic injection of the irreversible antagonist N-ethoxycarbonyl-2-ethoxy-1,2-dihydroquinoline (EEDQ). Receptors protected from EEDQ induced inactivation by sulpiride were revealed on autoradiograms of sections labeled with 3H-sulpiride. Sulpiride did not alter cocaine-conditioned place preference or cocaine-induced stereotypies. However, the two lowest doses of intra-accumbens sulpiride attenuated cocaine-induced locomotion and occupied > 42% of the sulpiride binding sites in the NAc, and the highest dose completely reversed cocaine-induced locomotion and occupied > 96% of the sulpiride binding sites in the NAc. Intracaudate sulpiride also attenuated cocaine-induced locomotion without occupying a significant number of binding sites in the NAc. These findings suggest that D2-like receptors in the NAc and anterior medial caudate-putamen are involved in cocaine-induced locomotion, but not cocaine-conditioned place preference.