Experiments were designed to deter-mine whether normal fluctuations in sex steroid hormones alter gene transcription for endothelial nitric oxide synthase (NOS) and preproendothelin-1 (prepro-ET-1). Aortic endothelial cells were removed from adult, gonadally intact male and female or ovariectomized Yorkshire pigs. Endothelial cells were prepared for Northern blot analysis, Western blot analysis or enzyme activity. Nitric oxide products (NOx) and endothelin-1 (ET-1) in plasma were measured by chemiluminescence and radioimmunoassay, respectively. Northern blot analysis identified single bands corresponding to endothelial NOS and prepro-ET-1. Quantification of the blots showed an increase in expression of mRNAfor both endothelial NOS and prepro-ET-1 in ovariectomized pigs compared with gonadally intact male and female pigs. There were no differences in amount of endothelial NOS protein identified by Western blot analysis among groups. On the contrary, plasma concentrations of NOx were significantly decreased in ovariectomized pigs, and there were no differences either in the concentrations of ET-1 in the plasma or extracts from the coronary arteries. These results suggest that expression of endothelial NOS and prepro-ET-1 may be regulated at transcriptional level by ovarian hormones. In addition, the ovarian hormones may regulate production of these endothelium-derived factors at the posttranscriptional level. Copyright ©1997 the American Physiological Society.