Adenosine and dopamine are two important modulators of glutamatergic neurotransmission in the striatum. However, conflicting reports exist about the role of adenosine and adenosine receptors in the modulation of striatal dopamine release. It has been previously suggested that adenosine A1 receptors localized in glutamatergic nerve terminals indirectly modulate dopamine release, by their ability to modulate glutamate release. In the present study, using in vivo microdialysis, we provide evidence for the existence of a significant glutamate-independent tonic modulation of dopamine release in most of the analyzed striatal compartments. In the dorsal, but not in the ventral, part of the shell of the nucleus accumbens (NAc), blockade of A1 receptors by local perfusion with the selective A1 receptor antagonist 8-cyclopentyl-1,3-dimethyl-xanthine or by systemic administration of the non-selective adenosine antagonist caffeine induced a glutamate-dependent release of dopamine. On the contrary, A1 receptor blockade induced a glutamate-independent dopamine release in the core of the NAc and the nucleus caudate–putamen. Furthermore, using immunocytochemical and functional studies in rat striatal synaptosomes, we demonstrate that a fraction of striatal dopaminergic terminals contains adenosine A1 receptors, which directly inhibit dopamine release independently of glutamatergic transmission.