Previous evidence has suggested that glutamate-driving neurotransmission and glutamate-excitotoxicity are modulated by substance P in the basal ganglia, but the assembly of glutamate receptors mediating this process remains to be delineated. By using a double immunofluorescence, cellular expression of alpha-amino-3-hydroxy-5-methyl-4-isoxazole propionate (AMPA) receptor subunits (GluR1-4) in substance P receptor (SPR)-containing neurons was examined in the striatum of rats. It revealed that distribution of SPR-immunoreactive neurons completely overlapped with that of GluR1, 2, 3 or 4-immunoreactive neurons in the caudate-putamen. Neurons showing both SPR and AMPA receptor subunits (except of GluR3)-immunoreactivity were observed: all (100%) of SPR-positive neurons displayed GluR1-, GluR2- or GluR4-immunoreactivity, and the double-labeled neurons constituted about 33, 3 or 29% of total GluR-positive ones. In contrast, the neurons exhibiting both SPR- and GluR3-immunoreactivity were not detected, though numerous GluR3-positive neurons were still distributed in the caudate-putamen regions. Co-localization of SPR and distinct AMPA receptor subunits in the striatal neurons has provided a basis for functional modulation of neuronal APMA receptors by substance P in the caudate-putamen of rodents. Taken together with previous observations, this study has also suggested that, through interaction with AMPA receptors composed of subunits 1, 2 and 4, substance P or neurokinin peptides may play important roles in regulating neuronal properties and protecting neurons from excitotoxicity in the basal ganglia of mammals.