Synaptophysin is an integral membrane protein abundant in the synaptic vesicle and is found in nerve terminals throughout the brain. It was recently suggested that synaptophysin is also involved in the modulation of activity-dependent synapse formation. In this study, we examined at the individual level whether tactile stimulation selectively influenced the synaptophysin mRNA expression level in the somatosensory cortex of rats. Anesthetized rats were caressed on the back by an experimenter's palms for 20 min and the mRNA expression levels in the somatosensory and the visual cortices 5 min afterwards were determined using quantitative PCR methodology. The synaptophysin mRNA expression level was selectively higher in the experimental group than in the control group in the somatosensory cortex but not in the visual cortex. This suggests that the mRNA expression level of synaptophysin induced by neuronal activity is related to the regulation of synapse formation or remodeling or both.