Rats were chronically injected with saline, clozapine, or haloperidol and tested for alterations in dopamine (DA)-mediated behavior, DA receptor binding, and both acetylcholine (ACH) concentration and choline acetylase activity. Behaviorally, chronic haloperidol significantly enhanced apomorphine-induced chewing and sniffing stereotypies, associated with DA nigrostriatal activation, while clozapine selectively enhanced apomorphine locomotor activity and cage-floor crossing, behavior associated with DA mesolimbic activation. Biochemically, chronic haloperidol significantly enhanced 3H-spiroperidol binding in striatum and in mesolimbic loci (nucleus accumbens/olfactory tubercle) while chronic clozapine failed to produce such enhancement. Acute haloperidol induced an initial decrease in striatal ACH concentration followed by a return of ACH to normal levels within 1 week. There was no change in choline acetylase activity during the same time interval. These findings suggest that haloperidol may inhibit DA mechanisms in both the nigrostriatal may inhibit DA mechanisms in both the nigrostriatal and mesolimbic systems, but that the effect of clozapine on DA mechanisms may be specific to mesolimbic rather than striatal structures. At the same time, the lack of effect of clozapine on 3H-spiroperidol binding may indicate that behaviorally important changes in DA sensitivity can develop independent of changes in post-synaptic DA receptors. The pattern of cholinergic changes with chronic haloperidol suggests that the increase in striatal DA receptor number seen with chronic treatment re-establishes DA inhibition of cholinergic firing within the striatum.