We tested the hypothesis that asymptomatic carriers of dopa-responsive dystonia (DRD) have increased dopamine D2 receptors in the striatum that protect them from the clinical manifestations of dopaminergic deficiency. We examined striatal D2-receptor binding in (1) symptomatic subjects (treated and untreated) and (2) asymptomatic gene carriers. Using[11C]-raclopride PET, we found elevated striatal D2-receptor binding in both groups. In one of our drug-naive symptomatic subjects, 7 months of treatment with levodopa/carbidopa did not affect the receptor binding as measured on a second scan. We conclude that increased D2-receptor binding in DRD may be a homeostatic response to the dopaminergic deficit in subjects carrying the DRD gene, but is not the sole factor determining the clinical state of these individuals.