OBJECTIVE The present study was designed to elucidate whether three soluble N-ethylmaleimide-sensitive fusion protein attachment protein receptor (SNARE) core proteins, syntaxin-1, synaptosomal-associated protein of 25kDa (SNAP-25), and vesicle-associated membrane protein-2 (VAMP-2), are present in the dental pulp of the rat molar at both the light and electron microscopic levels. DESIGN Immunohistochemistry for protein gene product 9.5 (PGP 9.5), a pan-neuronal marker, syntaxin-1, SNAP-25, and VAMP-2 was performed on decalcified rat molars for light and electron microscopic analyses. Double-immunolabeling of PGP 9.5 and the SNARE core proteins, as well as combinations of the SNARE core proteins, was also carried out. RESULTS PGP 9.5-immunoreactive nerve fibers ran toward the coronal region, ramified at the subodontoblast layer, and formed the subodontoblastic nerve plexus. Most nerve fibers penetrated the predentin and dentin along the dentinal tubules. Most, if not all, nerve fibers displayed immunoreactivity for syntaxin-1, SNAP-25, and VAMP-2. Immunoelectron microscopic analyses confirmed the presence of immunoreactivity for the SNARE core proteins within the intradental axonal elements. CONCLUSIONS The present findings suggest that, since SNARE core proteins participate in the docking and exocytosis of synaptic vesicles in the central nervous system, they may contribute to vesicle exocytosis from the dental nerve fibers even though there are no apparent synapses.