Using specific radioimmunoassays and immunocytochemistry for neurokinin A (NKA) and neurokinin B (NKB), distribution and localization of these peptides in rat peripheral tissues were studied. NKA-like immunoreactivity (NKA-LI) was present in highest levels of 15.7-23.9 pmol/g wet wt. and NKB-like immunoreactivity (NKB-LI) was in levels of 0.33-0.67 pmol/g wet wt., throughout the gastrointestinal tract involving stomach, duodenum, jejunum, ileum and colon. Immunocytochemical analysis of gastrointestinal tract revealed that NKA-LI and NKB-LI localized in ganglia of both the submucosal and myenteric plexuses as well as varicose neurons in the mucosa and the muscle layer of the small and large intestine. On the other hand, high levels of NKB-LI were observed in oesophagus (0.83 +/- 0.08 pmol/g wet wt.), adrenal (1.02 +/- 0.21), head of pancreas (0.73 +/- 0.06) and kidney (0.98 +/- 0.05). The present study shows the difference of localization of NKA-LI and NKB-LI in peripheral tissues and suggests that NKB may have some physiological role differing from that of NKA in peripheral tissues.