Lafutidine is a histamine H(2)-receptor antagonist with gastric antisecretory and gastroprotective activity associated with activation of capsaicin-sensitive nerves. The present study examined the effect of lafutidine on neurotransmission of capsaicin-sensitive calcitonin gene-related peptide (CGRP)-containing vasodilator nerves (CGRPergic nerves) in rat mesenteric resistance arteries. Rat mesenteric vascular beds were perfused with Krebs solution and vascular endothelium was removed by 30-s perfusion with sodium deoxycholate. In preparations preconstricted by continuous perfusion of methoxamine (alpha(1) adrenoceptor agonist), perfusion of lafutidine (0.1 - 10 microM) concentration-dependently augmented vasodilation induced by the periarterial nerve stimulation (PNS, 1 Hz) without affecting vasodilation induced by exogenous CGRP (10 pmol) injection. Perfusion of famotidine (H(2)-receptor antagonist, 1 - 100 microM) had no effect on either PNS-induced or CGRP-induced vasodilation. Perfusion of lafutidine concentration-dependently augmented vasodilation induced by a bolus injection of capsaicin (vanilloid-1 receptor agonist, 30 pmol). The presence of a vanilloid-1 receptor antagonist, ruthenium red (10 microM) or capsazepine (5 microM), abolished capsaicin-induced vasodilation and significantly decreased the PNS-induced vasodilation. The decreased PNS-induced vasodilation by ruthenium red or capsazepine was not affected by perfusion of lafutidine. These results suggest that lafutidine facilitates CGRP nerve-mediated vasodilation by modulating the function of presynaptic vanilloid-1 receptors located in CGRPergic nerves.