[18F]Benperidol ([18F]BP), a positron-emitting analogue of the dopaminergic D2 antagonist benperidol, was evaluated as a radiopharmaceutical for use with positron emission tomography (PET). PET imaging of baboons after i.v. injection of [18F]BP indicated that the radiofluorinated ligand rapidly localized in vivo within dopaminergic receptor-rich cerebral tissues, and that selective disposition was retained for over 2 h. Pretreatment of an animal with unlabeled receptor-specific antagonists prior to injection of [18F]BP confirmed that the radioligand bound specifically to central D2 receptors in vivo, and not to S2 or D1 receptors. [18F]BP bound to D2 receptors in a reversible manner, unlabeled eticlopride displaced D2 receptor-bound [18F]BP in vivo. The radioligand was metabolized in the periphery to polar metabolites which are not expected to cross the blood-brain barrier. [18F]BP has advantages over other tracers as a radiopharmaceutical for PET study of central D2 receptor activity, and can be applied for noninvasive evaluation of the interaction of unlabeled drugs with central D2 receptor sites.