Classical agonists of the dopamine D1 receptor activate both adenylyl cyclase and phospholipase C (PLC) signaling pathways. As a result, the extent to which these two pathways are essentially involved in various effects produced by D1 receptor agonists is currently uncertain. In the present report we examined the effects of SKF 83822, a dopamine D1 agonist which has been reported to activate adenylyl cyclase, but not PLC, on behavior and immediate early gene (IEG) expression in rats with unilateral 6-hydroxydopamine lesions. SKF 83822 (25-100 microg/kg) induced dose dependent contralateral rotation in these subjects, and, additionally, stimulated strong expression of the IEG products c-Fos, Fra2, Zif/268 and Arc in the deinnervated striatum. All of these effects could be antagonized by pretreatment with the selective D1 dopamine antagonist SCH 23390 (0.5 mg/kg). Although PLC may be involved in many effects mediated through dopamine D1 receptors, these results suggest that direct activation of PLC is not necessary for the induction of either rotation or IEG expression in dopamine depleted rats.