The occurrence and distribution of several neuropeptides and transmitter enzymes have been investigated by means of indirect immunofluorescence histochemistry in preaortal and carotid body-like paraganglia of the fetal guinea pig and the newborn pig. Preaortal paraganglia from the celiac and inferior mesenteric ganglion regions in fetal guinea pigs showed cell bodies immunoreactive (IR) for tyrosine hydroxylase (TH), dopamine beta-hydroxylase (DBH), neuropeptide Y (NPY), galanin (GAL) and metenkephalin (ENK). Almost all cells were IR for TH and DBH, whereas NPY-like immunoreactivity (-LI), GAL-LI and ENK-LI occurred less frequently. Direct double-labeling revealed the coexistence of NPY/GAL, NPY/ENK and GAL/ENK in paraganglion cells from the celiac and inferior mesenteric region. Nerve fibers and terminals were IR for ENK; fibers IR for calcitonin-gene-related peptide (CGRP) were present in the inferior mesenteric ganglion region. Preaortal paraganglia cells from the newborn pig showed TH-LI, DBH-LI, GAL-LI and ENK-LI, the distribution pattern being similar to that seen in the guinea pig; however, NPY-LI was absent. Carotid-body-like paraganglia from the newborn pig showed cell bodies IR to TH, GAL and ENK. Few cells were seen with DBH-LI. A rich supply of nerve fibers with CGRP-LI was present; some fibers exhibited ENK-LI and CCK-LI. In the adjacent superior cervical ganglion, ganglion cell bodies showed immunoreactivity to TH, DBH and NPY. A small number of cells were positive for GAL, CGRP and vasoactive intestinal polypeptide (VIP). Physiological activation of the paraganglia, leading to release or increase in catecholamines, may also change the content of the neuropeptides present in the paraganglia.