Whole-cell patch-clamp recordings were used to characterize calcium channel types that are modulated by mu-opioid receptor activation in rat dorsal root ganglion (DRG) neurons. Five distinct components of high-threshold calcium current were isolated on the basis of their sensitivity to the selective channel blockers omega-conotoxin GVIA, nifedipine, omega-conotoxin MVIIC, or omega-agatoxin IVA. The mu-opioid selective agonist Tyr-Pro-NMePhe-D-Pro-NH2 (PLO17) routinely suppressed high-threshold currents and this effect was always reduced by omega- conotoxin GVIA. A fraction of PLO17-sensitive current remained after omega-conotoxin GVIA that was eliminated by application of omega- agatoxin IVA alone or in combination with omega-conotoxin MVIIC. Nifedipine had no effect on mu-opioid responses nor did PLO17 affect the slow component of tail current induced by Bay K 8644. These data suggest that mu-opioid receptors are negatively coupled to three types of calcium channels in rat DRG neurons, including an omega-conotoxin GVIA-sensitive (N-type) channel, an omega-agatoxin IVA-sensitive (P- type) channel and an omega-conotoxin MVIIC-sensitive, nifedipine/GVIA/omega-Aga IVA-resistant (presumptive Q-type) channel.