Circulating NEFAs (non-esterified fatty acids) from adipose tissue lipolysis lead to endothelial dysfunction and insulin resistance in patients with the metabolic syndrome or Type 2 diabetes mellitus. The aim of the present study was to test the hypothesis that DHP (dihydropyridine) CCBs (calcium channel blockers) prevent NEFA-induced endothelial and haemorheological dysfunction independently of their antihypertensive properties. Using a double-blind cross-over study design, nifedipine, amlodipine, diltiazem or placebo were administered to eight healthy subjects for 2 days before each study day. On the study days, the following were assessed before and after the infusion of lipid and heparin to raise serum NEFAs: endothelial function, by measuring FBF (forearm blood flow) responses to ACh (acetylcholine); leucocyte activation, by ex vivo measurement of plasma MPO (myeloperoxidase) levels, adherent leucocyte numbers and whole blood transit time through microchannels; and oxidative stress, by determining plasma levels of d-ROMs (derivatives of reactive oxygen metabolites). Effects of the CCBs on NF-κB (nuclear factor κB) p65 phospholylation stimulated by NEFAs were assessed in cultured monocytic cells in vitro . Elevated NEFAs reduced the responses to ACh and significantly increased whole blood transit time, adherent leucocyte numbers and d-ROMs. Nifedipine and amlodipine, but not diltiazem, prevented NEFA-induced endothelial dysfunction, leucocyte activation and enhancement of oxidative stress without affecting BP (blood pressure), whereas all these drugs prevented NEFA-induced p65 activation in vitro . These results suggest that DHP CCBs, independent of their antihypertensive properties in humans, prevent NEFA-induced endothelial and haemorheological dysfunction through inhibition of NEFA-induced leucocyte activation, although the sensitivity to drugs of leucocyte Ca 2+ channels may differ among cells.