The pressor and vascular permeability effects of leukotrienes B4 (LTB4), C4 and D4 were investigated in conscious unrestrained rats. Leukotrienes C4 and D4 (3.2-51 nmol kg-1 i.v.) caused an acute dose-dependent elevation of the mean arterial pressure, which was maximal after 2 min and returned to control levels within 14 min. Heart rate was significantly reduced by the higher doses of LTC4 and LTD4. LTB4 (up to a dose of 51 nmol kg-1) was essentially inactive. These effects of LTC4 and LTD4 were abolished by FPL 55712, a putative antagonist of sulphidopeptide leukotrienes and by verapamil, a calcium channel blocker. Indomethacin, phentolamine or saralasin pretreatment failed to modify the pressor response to LTC4 and LTD4. LTC4 and LTD4 furthermore caused an increase in haematocrit values, which was significantly attenuated by FPL 55712, indomethacin and verapamil. The present findings show that the pressor effect of LTC4 and LTD4 is not related to prostanoid release and can be reversed by calcium channel blockade; whereas the effect on vascular permeability seems to require the presence of both cyclo-oxygenase product(s) and calcium.