1. The contraction and relaxation responses to the polyoxyethylated vehicles currently used for the intravenous and oral administration of cyclosporin A in allograft recipients were studied in isolated rat aorta. The results were compared with those obtained with commercially available cyclosporin A for intravenous administration.
2. None of these compounds affected resting tension, noradrenaline-induced contraction or endothelium-independent relaxation produced by sodium nitroprusside or bumetanide. However, they all reversed the relaxation induced by acetylcholine, carbamylcholine or adenosine 5′-triphosphate, by a factor of approximately 66%.
3. This reversal of relaxation was unaffected by indomethacin and did not require the presence of cyclosporin A in the vehicles, and was completely abolished by l-arginine (3 × 10−-5 mol/l).
4. It is concluded that vehicles used for commercial preparations of cyclosporin A interfere with the synthesis of endothelium-derived relaxing factor at an early stage during which l-arginine is made available for enzymatic degradation.