This study was designed to investigate whether brain unbound concentration (C(u,brain)) is a better predictor of dopamine D(2) receptor occupancy than total brain concentration, cerebrospinal fluid concentration (C(CSF)), or blood unbound concentration (C(u,blood)). The ex vivo D(2) receptor occupancy and concentration-time profiles in cerebrospinal fluid, blood, and brain of six marketed antipsychotic drugs were determined after oral administration in rats at a range of dose levels. The C(u,brain) was estimated from the product of total brain concentration and unbound fraction, which was determined using a brain homogenate method. In conclusion, the C(u,brain) of selected antipsychotic agents is a good predictor of D(2) receptor occupancy in rats. Furthermore, C(u,brain) seems to provide a better prediction of D(2) receptor occupancy than C(CSF) or C(u,blood) for those compounds whose mechanism of entry into brain tissue is influenced by factors other than simple passive diffusion.