1. In rats lower body negative pressure induced venous pooling in a reproducible manner. The response to LBNP in the pentobarbitone-anaesthetized rat appeared not to be influenced by the autonomic nervous system.
2. The hypotensive effect of arterial vasodilators was diminished at 5 mmHg LBNP, compared with effects at 3 mmHg, whereas the hypotensive effect of venous vasodilators was not changed at 5 mmHg LBNP, compared with that at 3 mmHg LBNP.
3. In the pithed rat dihydroergotamine caused venoconstriction. In the phenobarbitone-anaesthetized rat the hypotensive effect of venous vasodilators was decreased significantly by pretreatment with this drug, whereas it did not influence the hypotensive effect of arterial vasodilators.
4. Thus venodilatation by LBNP and venoconstriction by dihydroergotamine provide a method for differentiating arterial and venous sites of action of vasodilators in intact rats.