We examined the role of the vanilloid VR1 receptor in the thermal hyperalgesia and allodynia seen in diabetic mice. Tail-flick latencies at source voltages of 35 and 50 V for a 50-W projection bulb in diabetic mice were significantly shorter than those in non-diabetic mice. Tail-flick latencies at 35 and 50 V in diabetic mice were increased by pretreatment with anti-vanilloid VR1 receptor serum. Intrathecal (i.t.) injection of anti-VR1 serum resulted in a significant increase in the tail-flick latency at 50 V in non-diabetic mice. However, i.t. pretreatment with anti-vanilloid VR1 receptor serum did not affect the tail-flick latency at a heat intensity of 35 V in non-diabetic mice. Thus, it seems likely that thermal allodynia and hyperalgesia in diabetic mice may be due to the sensitization of vanilloid VR1 receptors in primary sensory neurons in the spinal cord.