This study was conducted to examine the hypothesis that P2 purinoceptors contribute to pressure-induced autoregulatory adjustments of afferent arteriolar caliber. Experiments were performed in vitro using the blood-perfused juxtamedullary nephron technique. Afferent arteriolar diameter averaged 19.2 ± 0.6 μm (n = 51) at control perfusion pressure of 100 mmHg and decreased when perfusion pressure was increased. Desensitization of P2 purinoceptors abolished the α,β-methylene ATP-mediated afferent vasoconstriction and prevented pressure-dependent autoregulatory adjustments in afferent diameter. P2-purinoceptor saturation significantly decreased afferent caliber and attenuated pressure-induced autoregulatory responses. To block P2 receptors, afferent arterioles were treated with the P2- purinoceptor antagonists, pyridoxal-phosphate-6-azophenyl-2',4'-disulfonic acid or suramin. P2-receptor blockade prevented the afferent arteriolar vasoconstriction evoked by increasing perfusion pressure from 100 to 130 and 160 mmHg. These data demonstrate that inhibition of P2 purinoceptor- dependent responses through receptor desensitization, receptor saturation, or purinoceptor blockade impairs normal autoregulatory behavior in rat juxtamedullary afferent arterioles. The results are consistent with the hypothesis that P2 purinoceptors participate in mediating autoregulatory adjustments in afferent arteriolar diameter.