Abstract The substance P (SP)-containing nerves at the deep (DMP) and myenteric (MP) plexuses and the related interstitial cells of Cajal (ICC-DMP and ICC-MP) were immunohistochemically studied in rat and guinea-pig ileum. All the ICC expressed SP-preferred receptor NK1r: the ICC-DMP showed an intense and the ICC-MP a faint NK1r-immunoreactivity(IR). c-kit-labeling confirmed that they were ICC. The SP-IR nerves at the DMP were significantly more numerous in the guinea-pig than in the rat, and more numerous than those at the MP in both animal species. All the ICC-DMP in the guinea-pig and half of them in the rat were close to SP-IR nerves. The ICC-MP were rarely near to SP-IR nerves in either species. The SP-innervation shows interspecies differences at the DMP that imply a different tachykinergic control of the local ICC.