Local cerebral glucose utilization (LCGU) was measured, using the quantitative autoradiographic (/sup 14/C)2-deoxy-D-glucose method, in 56 brain regions of 3-month-old, awake Fischer-344 rats, after intraperitoneal administration of sulpiride (SULP) 100 mg/kg. SULP, an atypical neuroleptic, is a selective antagonist of D2 dopamine receptors. LCGU was reduced in a few nondopaminergic regions at 1 h after drug administration. Thereafter, SULP progressively elevated LCGU in many other regions. At 3 h, LCGU was elevated in 23% of the regions examined, most of which are related to the CNS dopaminergic system (caudate-putamen, nucleus accumbens, olfactory tubercle, lateral habenula, median eminence, paraventricular hypothalamic nucleus). Increases of LCGU were observed also in the suprachiasmatic nucleus, lateral geniculate, and inferior olive. These effects of SULP on LCGU differ from the effects of the typical neuroleptic haloperidol, which produces widespread decreases in LCGU in the rat brain. Selective actions on different subpopulations of dopamine receptors may explain the different effects of the two neuroleptics on brain metabolism, which correspond to their different clinical and behavioral actions.