Statins have cholesterol-independent effects including an increased vascular nitric oxide (NO) activity and are commonly used by patients with cardiovascular disease. Such patients frequently have erectile dysfunction, which may be treated with sildenafil, a selective inhibitor of phosphodiesterase type 5. Since statins and sildenafil can activate the NO-cGMP pathway, we investigated whether pre-treatment with atorvastatin (0, 5 and 30 mg/kg/day) for 2 weeks affects sildenafil (1 pM-100 mM)-induced relaxation of aortic rings isolated from Wistar rats. We also examined the hemodynamic consequences of this interaction in Wistar rats. Plasma nitrite/nitrate (NOx) concentrations were determined using an ozone-based chemiluminescence assay. While pre-treatment with atorvastatin increased the potency of sildenafil-induced vasorelaxation (P<0.01), no differences were observed in the maximum sildenafil-induced relaxation. Pre-incubation of aortic rings with NG-nitro-L-arginine methyl ester (L-NAME) reversed atorvastatin-induced increase in the potency of sildenafil relaxation. In addition, pre-treatment with atorvastatin enhanced plasma NOx concentrations and sildenafil-induced hypotension and tachycardia (all P<0.05). These results suggest that atorvastatin increases the vascular sensitivity to sildenafil through NO-mediated mechanisms.