Peripheral neuropathy is a common complication of diabetes mellitus, where neuropeptides and immunocells might play important roles in the pathogenesis of the disease. In this article we have quantified the different neuropeptide-containing nerve fibers and immunocells in the streptozotocin- induced diabetic rat's alimentary tract (tongue, duodenum, colon) using immunohistochemical and immunocytochemical methods. The immunoreactive (IR) nerve fibers were found in all layers of the alimentary tract and their distribution pattern was similar in both control and diabetic groups. Mast cell-nerve fiber contacts were rarely found in the controls. However, after 4 weeks duration of diabetes the number of IR nerve fibers and the immunocompetent cells increased significantly (P < 0.05), and the number of mast cell-nerve fiber contacts was even more significantly increased (P < 0.001). The distance between nerve fibers and immunocells was about 1 μm or even less. Some of the mast cells were degranulated in the vicinity of nerve fibers. No immunocompetent cells were IR for any antisera in the control. However, after the streptozotocin treatment, a large number of the immunocompetent cells showed immunoreactivity for SP and NPY. Counting all immunocompetent cells in whole sections showed that 12.3% of them were IR for SP and 25.4% were IR for NPY. Increased number of SP-containing nerve fibers and immunocells in diabetes mellitus might be the reason for painful neuropathy and might amplify the inflammatory reaction in an axon reflex manner; the released histamine and leukotrienes, cytokines, and chemokines might cause inflammations and lesions of the mucosa.