C-Jun and c-Fos belong to the family of immediate early genes. Apart from their role as transcription factors, a basal expression was shown for them in central nervous system tissues. The expression of c-Jun and c-Fos in sensory ganglia of guinea pig, rat and murine sensory ganglia was examined under normal, unstimulated conditions by quantitative double-immunohistochemistry. 4.6 ± 2.8% of neuron-specific protein gene-product 9.5 -positive cells in nodose ganglia, 51.6 ± 2.1% in jugular ganglia, 46.4 ± 3.0% in trigeminal ganglia and 42.5 ± 1.3% of cervical dorsal root ganglia neurons were positive for c-Jun in the guinea pig (less than 1% for c-Fos). In rat and mouse, less than 1% of the sensory neurons exhibited c-Jun and c-Fos-immunoreactivity. The high basal expression of c-Jun in guinea pig sensory neurons suggests that in this species the presence of c-Jun does not only depend on specific stimulation and is not exclusively associated with neuronal plasticity of gene expression and functional changes.