The present investigation used an antibody directed against the extracellular domain of the signal transducing nerve growth factor receptor, trkA, to reveal immunoreactive perikarya or fibers within the olfactory bulb and tubercle, cingulate cortex, nucleus accumbens, striatum, endopiriform nucleus, septal/diagonal band complex, nucleus basalis, hippocampal complex, thalamic paraventricular and reuniens nuclei, periventricular hypothalamus, interpeduncular nucleus, mesencephalic nucleus of the fifth nerve, dorsal nucleus of the lateral lemniscus, prepositus hypoglossal nucleus, ventral cochlear nucleus, ventral lateral tegmentum, medial vestibular nucleus, spinal trigeminal nucleus oralis, nucleus of the solitary tract, raphe nuclei, and spinal cord. Colocalization experiments revealed that virtually all striatal trkA-immunoreactive neurons (> 99%) coexpressed choline acetyltransferase (ChAT) but not p75 nerve growth factor receptor (NGFR). Within the septal/diagonal band complex virtually all trkA neurons (> 95%) coexpressed both ChAT and p75 NGFR. More caudally, dual stained sections revealed numerous trkA/ChAT (> 80%) and trkA/p75 NGFR (> 95%) immunoreactive neurons within the nucleus basalis. In the brainstem, raphe serotonergic neurons (45%) coexpressed trkA. Sections stained with a pan-trk antibody that recognizes primarily trkA, as well as trkB and trkC, labeled neurons within all of these regions as well as within the hypothalamic arcuate, supramammilary, and supraoptic nuclei, hippocampus, inferior and superior colliculus, substantia nigra, ventral tegmental area of T'sai, and cerebellular Purkinje cells. Virtually all of these other regions with the exception of the cerebellum also expressed pan-trk immunoreactivity in the monkey. The widespread expression of trkA throughout the central neural axis suggests that this receptor may play a role in signal transduction mechanisms linked to NGF-related substances in cholinergic basal forebrain and noncholinergic systems. These findings suggest that pharmacological use of ligands for trkA could have beneficial effects on the multiple neuronal systems that are affected in such disorders as Alzheimer's disease.