Coexistence of the mRNA for each subtype of opioid receptor (OPR) with the mRNA for preprotachykinin A (PPTA), a precursor protein of substance P (SP), in the rat dorsal root ganglia was examined by double in situ hybridization technique. About 90% and 30% of PPTA mRNA-positive neurons expressed mu- and kappa-OPR mRNAs at high level, respectively. However, only about 3% of PPTA mRNA-positive neurons expressed delta-OPR mRNA at high level. These results suggest that mu- and kappa-OPRs exist on most of and a part of the primary afferent terminals containing SP, respectively. On the other hand, among the neurons which highly expressed mu-, delta- or kappa-OPR mRNA, PPTA mRNA was not expressed in about 58%, 95% or 24% of those neurons, respectively. These findings suggest the possibility that OPRs co-exist with other neurotransmitters and/or neuromodulators than SP in the primary afferent neurons.