Substance P (SP), one of the most prevalent neuropeptides in gut, has been reported to have potent immune modulatory effects as a proinflammatory agent. The synthesis of SP and SP receptor expression in intraepithelial and lamina propria T lymphocytes of mouse intestine was investigated. Using RT-PCR analysis, it was demonstrated that SP receptor mRNA was exclusively expressed in intraepithelial and lamina propria T lymphocytes as well as their purified CD4+, CD8+ and CD4–CD8–CD3+ subsets. Messenger RNAs (mRNAs) for the two precursors of SP, β and γ-preprotachykinin-A, were also detected. These results were consistent in lymphocytes from both epithelium and lamina propria of small and large intestines, although the frequencies and/or intensities of mRNA expression varied. However, none of the findings could be repeated in splenic T lymphocytes. Activation of splenocytes with anti-CD3Ε-chain mAb and PMA did not induce expression of SP or its receptor mRNAs. Furthermore, both cytoplasmic and surface-bound SP was demonstrated in intestinal T lymphocytes using dual color immunocytochemistry and immunoflow cytometry. In vitro treatment with SP did not significantly change the size of the SP-immunoreactive T cell population, indicating the presence of SP receptor on intestinal T lymphocytes as well as in vivo binding of endogenously released SP. Our data suggest that SP production and SP receptor expression are distinctive for mouse intestinal mucosal immunity and that SP may act as a modulator of an ongoing controlled inflammation in normal gut, by acting through its specific receptor on T lymphocytes in an autocrine and/or paracrine pattern.