Substance P, somatostatin, VIP, CCK, angiotensin II, and bombesin have all been localized by immunohistochemical or radioimmunological means in neurons of sensory ganglia or in the dorsal horn of the spinal cord. Most of these neuropeptides have electrophysiological effects on spinal neurons and for substance P and somatostatin, these effects have been associated with particular sensory modalities. Newer investigations using the compound capsaicin are consistent with the hypothesis that substance P is an important neurochemical mediator of certain kinds of noxious peripheral stimuli. The newly described substance P antagonists promise to be important pharmacological tools for investigation of the long-neglected neurochemical bases of sensory neuron function. Elaboration of the roles of these sensory neuropeptides will no doubt shed light on many disease states in which there seems to be sensory neuron involvement.