The effect of unmodified stroma reduced (SRHb) and modified diaspirin crosslinked (DCLHb) hemoglobin solutions on the mean arterial pressure and endothelin-1 (ET-1) concentration in blood plasma and various tissues was studied. Infusion of DCLHb or SRHb increased mean arterial blood pressure by 96% and 39%, respectively. Heart rate was not significantly affected by DCLHb or SRHb. A significant increase (P < 0.003) in the ET-1 levels in blood plasma after DCLHb and SRHb infusion was observed. The increase in plasma ET-1 concentration was significantly more marked with SRHb (141%) as compared to DCLHb (78%) treated rats. The concentration of ET-1 in the heart and brain regions was not altered in DCLHb or SRHb treated rats as compared to control. However, ET-1 concentration was significantly increased in the thoracic aorta (151%) and renal medulla (272%) of DCLHb treated rats. SRHb treated rats also showed a significant increase in ET-1 concentration in the thoracic aorta (141%) and renal medulla (429%). The effect of SRHb on the renal medulla was found to be significantly greater than that of DCLHb. ET may be one of the factors responsible for the cardiovascular effects of hemoglobin solutions.