Galanin by a spinal action has been shown to have an antihyperalgesic action. Thus, in rats with lumbar intrathecal (IT) catheters, the thermal hyperalgesia evoked by carrageenan paw injection was blocked by IT delivery of galanin(1-29) (Gal(1-29)) and galanin(2-11) (Gal(2-11)) with the rank order of activity being Gal(1-29)>Gal(2-11). We sought to determine whether this spinal action reflects an effect upon afferent transmitter release, e.g., substance P (SP), and/or on secondary neurons, e.g., signaling postsynaptic to neurokinin 1 (NK1) receptor activation. To address the question on afferent release, we investigated the effect of IT administration of galanin on tissue injury-induced spinal NK1 internalization (an indicator of SP release). Noxious stimulation (paw compression) produced an increase in NK1 internalization in dorsal horn lamina I. IT pretreatment of rats with Gal(1-29) and Gal(2-11) significantly attenuated the evoked NK1 internalization, with the rank order of activity being Gal(1-29)>Gal(2-11)>saline. To address the question of postsynaptic action, we examined the effects of IT galanin upon IT SP-induced thermal hyperalgesia and spinal PGE2 release. Application of SP (30 nmol) directly to spinal cord led to a decrease in thermal thresholds and a profound increase in PGE(2) concentration in spinal dialysates. Both phenomena were reversed by Gal(1-29) and Gal(2-11) (10nmol, IT). These findings suggest that the antihyperalgesic effect of spinal galanin is due to its action on sites both presynaptic (inhibition of SP release) and postsynaptic (blockade of SP-evoked hyperalgesia and PGE2 production) to the primary afferents.