This study investigated the expression of nNOS after repeated morphine or cocaine administration in order to determine if nNOS (neuronal nitric oxide synthase) is involved in the morphine- or cocaine-induced behavioral sensitization in mu-opioid receptor knockout (MOR(-/-)) mice. Higher numbers of nNOS-positive cells were observed in the dentate gyrus of the hippocampus (DG) of the wild-type (MOR(+/+)) mice repeatedly treated with either morphine or cocaine than in the saline treated MOR(+/+) mice (morphine, +122%; cocaine, +82%). Moreover, the MOR(-/-) mice also showed significantly higher morphine- or cocaine-induced nNOS expression levels in the DG than in the saline treated MOR(+/+) mice (morphine, +234%; cocaine, +54%). The MOR(-/-) mice showed a significantly higher morphine-induced nNOS expression level (+103%) or a lower cocaine-induced nNOS expression level (+38%) in the DG than in the morphine- or cocaine-treated MOR(+/+) mice. These results suggest that morphine and cocaine sensitization is differentially regulated by the mu-opioid receptors in MOR(-/-) mice via the nNOS systems in the DG.