We sought to identify characteristics of peptidergic innervation that altered in patients with chronic pancreatitis. Pancreatic tissue removed from patients with chronic pancreatitis was analyzed by immunohistochemistry using antisera against neuropeptide Y, tyrosine hydroxylase, vasoactive intestinal polypeptide, peptide histidine isoleucine, calcitonin gene-related peptide, and substance P, respectively. In accordance with recent findings, the number and diameter of intralobular and interlobular nerve bundles were found to be increased as compared with control pancreas from organ donors. The striking change in the peptidergic innervation pattern in chronic pancreatitis concerned these altered nerves. It consisted of an intensification of the immunostaining for calcitonin gene-related peptide and substance P in numerous fibers contained in these nerves. Adjacent sections showed that immunoreactive substance P and immunoreactive calcitonin gene-related peptide coexisted in these fibers. Because both of these peptides are generally regarded as pain transmitter candidates, our findings provide further evidence that changes in pancreatic nerves themselves might be responsible for the long-lasting pain syndrome in chronic pancreatitis.