Development of drug addiction involves complex molecular changes in the CNS. The mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) signaling pathway plays a key role in mediating neuronal activation induced by dopamine, glutamate, and drugs of abuse. We previously showed that dopamine D1 and D3 receptors play different roles in regulating cocaine-induced MAPK activation. Although there are functional and physical interactions between dopamine and glutamate receptors, little is known regarding the involvement of D1 and D3 receptors in modulating glutamate-induced MAPK activation and underlying mechanisms. In this study, we show that D1 and D 3 receptors play opposite roles in regulating N-methyl-d-aspartate (NMDA) -induced activation of extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK) in the caudate putamen (CPu). D3 receptors also inhibit NMDA-induced activation of the c-Jun N-terminal kinase and p38 kinase in the CPu. NMDA-induced activation of the NMDA-receptor R1 subunit (NR1), Ca 2+/calmodulin-dependent protein kinase II and the cAMP-response element binding protein (CREB), and cocaine-induced CREB activation in the CPu are also oppositely regulated by dopamine D1 and D3 receptors. Finally, the blockade of NMDA-receptor reduces cocaine-induced ERK activation, and inhibits phosphorylation of NR1, Ca2+/calmodulin- dependent protein kinase II, and CREB, while inhibiting ERK activation attenuates cocaine-induced CREB phosphorylation in the CPu. These results suggest that dopamine D1 and D3 receptors oppositely regulate NMDA- and cocaine-induced MAPK signaling via phosphorylation of NR1. © 2007 The Authors.