Transient receptor potential vanilloid type-1 (TRPV1) is a ligand-gated nonselective cation channel that has been well characterized in peripheral pain pathway. Recent evidence from animal models of temporal lobe epilepsy (TLE) has supported the important role of TRPV1 in epileptogenesis. In this study, we investigated the expression and cellular distribution of TRPV1 in the temporal cortex (CTX) and hippocampus (HPC) from 26 patients with mesial TLE (MTLE) compared with 12 histologically normal samples. Reverse transcription-PCR and Western blotting revealed up-regulated mRNA and protein levels of TRPV1 in the MTLE group versus the control group. Immunohistochemistry data demonstrated that TRPV1 was mainly distributed in the cell bodies and dendrites of neurons. Double-labeled immunofluorescence further revealed that TRPV1 was localized on NeuN-positive neurons and GFAP-positive astrocytes, but not on HLA-positive microglia. In addition, its co-localization with glutamate and gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) indicated that TRPV1 was distributed on both glutamatergic and GABAergic neurons. Moreover, nerve growth factor, a sensitizing factor for TRPV1, was showed a higher expression pattern in MTLE patients. Taken together, our findings suggest that the overexpression and distribution patterns of TRPV1 might be involved in the pathogenesis and epileptogenesis of human MTLE.