We investigated diode laser (980 nm) evoked activation of transient receptor potential proteins (TRPV1 and TRPV2). C and A-delta (Aδ) nociceptor families are primarily responsible for pain mediation in the peripheral nervous system. TRPV1 proteins have been associated with heat evoked pain in C fibers while Aδ fibers have been associated with TRPV2. Diode laser stimulation allows a margin of safety between non-invasive activation and damage 19, 22, 34. Laser pulses (20-50 ms, 0.1-10 W, 980 nm) were used to stimulate: A) in vitro: excised patches from HEK293 cells expressing TRPV1; B) in vitro : rat DRG nociceptors expressing either TRPV1 or TRPV2; and C) in vivo : C-fibers of the rat saphenous nerve (SN) trunk. Cell currents were recorded using standard patch clamp methods. The SN was also stimulated electrically with bipolar electrodes. Stimulation (20-50 ms) of HEK and DRG cells expressing TRPV1 was highly reproducible. Activation and peak currents were achieved at estimated peak temperatures of 55°C and 70°C. Threshold activation was also observed in DRG neurons expressing TRPV2. The conduction velocity for laser-activated saphenous nerve afferents was in the C fiber range (0.5-1 m/s). Electrically stimulated nerve contained stimulation artifacts and complex neural components with conduction velocities ranging from 0.3-30 m/s. Diode laser activation of TRPV1 protein is a reproducible and effective means to probe TRP activity in both in vivo and in vitro preparations© (2007) COPYRIGHT SPIE--The International Society for Optical Engineering. Downloading of the abstract is permitted for personal use only.