Endothelin-1 (ET-1) is thought to play an important role in the development of deoxycorticosterone acetate (DOCA)-salt hypertension. Because hypertension is associated with an increased incidence of coronary artery disease, this study was designed to determine if coronary vascular contraction to ET-1 is altered in DOCA-salt hypertensive rats and to determine the effect of chronic treatment of DOCA-salt rats with the selective ETA receptor antagonist A-127722. Male Sprague-Dawley rats were divided into four groups: DOCA, Placebo, DOCA + A-127722, and Placebo + A- 127722. A-127722 was administered in drinking water at a concentration of 8 mg/100 ml. After 3 wk, mean arterial pressure (MAP) was significantly enhanced in DOCA-salt compared with Placebo rats. A127722 significantly inhibited the increase in MAP. Contraction to ET-1 (10-11 to 3 X 10-8 M) was measured in isolated coronary and mesenteric small arteries (200-300 μm, intraluminal diameter) maintained at a constant intraluminal pressure of 40 mmHg and was significantly impaired in vessels from DOCA-salt compared with Placebo rats. Dose-dependent contractions to KCl were also inhibited in coronary, but only minimally impaired in mesenteric, arteries of DOCA-salt rats. Inhibition of nitric oxide synthase activity did not restore contraction to ET-1 in coronary small arteries. However contractions to ET-1 were enhanced in mesenteric small arteries. Chronic treatment with A-127722 significantly restored contraction to ET-1 in coronary, but not in mesenteric, arteries of DOCA-salt rats. Because ETA receptor blockade impairs the development of hypertension and improves coronary vascular reactivity, these data indicate that ET-1 plays an important role in coronary vascular dysfunction associated with DOCA-salt hypertension.