Homogenates of chick dorsal root ganglia (DRG) and in vitro cultures of DRG neurons are known to synthesize prostaglandin (PG) D2. To specify the PGD synthase isozymes controlling PGD2 synthesis in DRG and to identify the DRG cells responsible for this synthesis, we applied polyclonal antibodies raised against rat brain or rat spleen PGD synthase isozymes to vibratome or cryostat slices of DRG previously fixed with a formaldehyde-lysine-periodate mixture and permeabilized with Triton X-100. The immunoreactivity indicating rat spleen PGD synthase, a glutathione (GSH)-requiring enzyme, was located in satellite cells encompassing particular large neurons of class A and in Schwann cells myelinating and enwrapping their initial axonal segments. In contrast, the immunoreactivity of rat brain PGD synthase, a GSH- independent enzyme, was restricted to particular ganglion cell perikarya: 33% of the DRG neurons were immunostained for rat brain PGD synthase, including 2% of large class A neurons and 40% of small class B neurons. Only 3.3% of rat brain PGD synthase-immunoreactive small B neurons coexpressed substance P, indicating that the immunoreactive neurons belong to the B1 subclass. By electron microscopy, 71 of 72 immunoreactive DRG cells were identified as small B neurons of the B1 subclass, and 71 of 77 B1 neurons were immunoreactive for rat brain PGD synthase. These results demonstrate that PGD2 formation in DRG is regulated by two isozymes: the GSH-requiring isozyme located in satellite and Schwann cells and the GSH-independent isozyme-confined to small B1 neurons.