Proteinase-activated receptors (PARs) are members of the superfamily of G-protein coupled receptors that initiate intracellular signaling by the proteolytic activity of extracellular serine proteases. Three member of this family (PAR-1, PAR-3, and PAR-4) are considered thrombin receptors, whereas PAR-2 is activated by trypsin and tryptase. Recently, activation of PAR-2 signal was identified as a pro-inflammatory factor that mediates peripheral sensitization of nociceptors. Activation of PAR-1 in the periphery is also considered to be a neurogenic mediator of inflammation that is involved in peptide release. Here, we investigated the expression of these four members of PARs in the adult rat dorsal root ganglia (DRG) using radioisotope-labeled in situ hybridization histochemistry. We detected mRNA for all subtypes of PARs in the DRG. Histological analysis revealed the specific expression patterns of the PARs. PAR-1, PAR-2, and PAR-3 mRNA was expressed in 29.0+/-4.0%, 16.0+/-3.2%, and 40.9+/-1.3% of DRG neurons, respectively. In contrast, PAR-4 mRNA was mainly observed in non-neuronal cells. A double-labeling study of PARs with NF-200 and alpha calcitonin gene-related peptide (CGRP) also revealed the distinctive expression of PARs mRNA in myelinated or nociceptive neurons. This study shows the precise expression pattern of PARs mRNA in the DRG and indicates that the cells in DRG can receive modulation with different types of proteinase-activated receptors.