Recent advances in molecular neurobiology led to a new understanding on mammalian brain dopaminergic system which plays a major role in the regulation of motor, cognitive, emotional, neuroendocrine functions as well as in the pathogenesis of several pathological conditions, including neurodegenerative diseases, affective disorders, schizophrenia, drug addiction etc. Functional, biochemical and pharmacological heterogeneity of dopamine receptors, which were divided into D1-like (D1 and D5 subtypes) and D2-like (D2, D3 and D4) families of receptors has been postulated. The article reviews the recent advances including author's own results concerning the structure and function of main dopaminergic brain system, i.e. nigrostriatal and mesolimbic. The problem of autoreceptor regulation of dopaminergic neurotransmission, particularly, the processes of dopamine synthesis, release and metabolism has been specially discussed. An involvement of D2 and D3 dopamine autoreceptors in the control of these processes and differences in the mode of action of typical and atypical neuroleptics demonstrating various affinities to D2 and D3 dopamine receptors are analysed in detail. Dopamine and its metabolites have been determined on freely moving rats using brain microdialysis and high performance liquid chromatography. It is hypothesized that dopamine D3 autoreceptor is preferentially involved in the regulation of dopamine release while D2 one is responsible for the control of dopamine synthesis and metabolism in rat basal ganglia in vivo.