Pentoxifylline, a phosphodiesterase inhibitor and hemorrheologic agent has been found to increase oxygen delivery to ischemic tissue. Intravenous pentoxifylline was administered to normal guinea pigs in order to assess the effect of pentoxifylline on cochlear blood flow and to elucidate its mechanism of action. Intravenous pentoxifylline was found to acutely increase cochlear blood flow in a dose-dependent manner. In normal animals, the effect appeared strongly related to the rheologic properties of this agent rather than a vasodilative action. Normovolemic hemodilution with 75% dextran resulted in no increase in cochlear blood flow during infusion of pentoxifylline, whereas the application of nitroprusside over the round window failed to abolish the effect of pentoxifylline.