Excessive secretion of placental neurokinin B into the circulation during the third trimester of pregnancy is seen in women with preeclampsia. To determine a role for neurokinin B, we have used a number of different animal models to ascertain the expression of the three tachykinin receptors (NK1--both short and long forms, NK2 and NK3) and the putative human tachykinin NK4 receptor in the placenta. Human and rat placenta express all three classical tachykinin receptors. However, we failed to reveal the expression of the short tachykinin NK1 receptor or the tachykinin NK4 receptor in any of 24 human tissues examined including the placenta. We conclude that the proposed short form of the tachykinin NK1 receptor is a truncated genomic clone and that the human tachykinin NK4 receptor is in fact, the guinea pig tachykinin NK3 receptor.