Taste is an important sense in survival and growth of animals. The growth and maintenance of taste buds, the receptor organs of taste sense, are under the regulation of various neurotrophic factors. But the distribution aspect of neurotrophic factors and their receptors in distinct taste cell types are not clearly known. The present research was designed to characterize mRNA expression pattern of neurotrophic factors and their receptors in distinct type of taste cells. In male 45-60 day-old Sprague-Dawley rats, epithelial tissues with and without circumvallate and folliate papillaes were dissected and homogenized, and mRNA expressions for neurotrophic factors and their receptors were determined by RT-PCR. The mRNA expressions of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), neurotrophin-3 (NT3), receptor tyrosine kinase B (TrkB), exclusion of nerve growth factor (NGF), neurotrophin-4/5 (NT4/5), receptor tyrosine kinase A (TrkA), receptor tyrosine kinase C (TrkC), and p75NGFR were observed in some population of taste cell. In support of this result and to characterize which types of taste cells express NT3, BDNF, or TrkB, we examined mRNA expressions of NT3, BDNF, or TrkB in the PLCbeta2 (a marker of Type II cell)- and/or SNAP25 (a marker of Type III cell)-positive taste cells by a single taste cell RT-PCR and found that the ratio of positively stained cell numbers were 17.4, 6.5, 84.1, 70.3, and 1.4% for PLCbeta2, SNAP25, NT3, BDNF, and TrkB, respectively. In addition, all of PLCbeta2- and SNAP25-positive taste cells expressed NT3 mRNA, except for one taste bud cell. The ratios of NT3 mRNA expressions were 100% and 91.7% in the SNAP25- and PLCbeta2-positive taste cells, respectively. However, two TrkB-positive taste cells co-expressed neither PLCbeta2 nor SNAP 25. The results suggest that the most of type II or type III cells express BDNF and NT3 mRNA, but the expression is shown to be less in type I taste cells.