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The distribution of mRNA for pituitary adenylate cyclase-activating polypeptide (PACAP) type 1 (PAC1) and vasoactive intestinal polypeptide (VIP) types 1 and 2 (VPAC1 and VPAC2, respectively) receptors was examined by reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) in human cerebral arteries and in trigeminal, otic, sphenopalatine and superior cervical ganglia. RT-PCR products of the expected sizes were detected in the arteries, in both the presence and absence of endothelium. In the majority (80%) of the trigeminal, otic and superior cervical ganglia, mRNA for all three receptors were found (n = 5). However, in the sphenopalatine ganglion neither VPAC2 nor PAC1 was detected (n = 2). This finding indicates the occurrence of both prejunctional (ganglia) and postjunctional (vessels) location of VIP and PACAP receptors.