Abstract: The mRNA encoding μ-opioid receptors is expressed in neurons of the globus pallidus, a region of the basal ganglia that receives a dense enkephalinergic innervation from the striatum. The regulation of the mRNAs encoding the opioid peptide enkephalin in the striatum and the μ-opioid receptor in the globus pallidus was examined with in situ hybridization histochemistry following short- or long-term haloperidol treatments, which alter striatal enkephalin mRNA levels. Animals were administered haloperidol daily for 3 or 7 days (1 mg/kg, s.c.) or continuously for 8 months (1 mg/kg, depot followed by oral). Enkephalin and μ-opioid receptor mRNA levels were unchanged after 3 days of haloperidol treatment. In contrast, the enkephalin mRNA level was increased in the striatum, and μ-opioid receptor mRNA levels were markedly decreased in the globus pallidus after 7 days of haloperidol administration. Similar effects were observed in rats treated with haloperidol for 8 months. The results provide the first evidence of regulation of μ-opioid receptor mRNA in vivo.