Relaxing effects of nitroprusside and verapamil on the resting or K-stimulated tension and <sup>45</sup>Ca uptake in human umbilical vessels were investigated. Both nitroprusside and verapamil reduced the resting and K-stimulated tensions in a dose-dependent manner. Nitroprusside was much more effective than verapamil in reducing resting tension. However, verapamil caused a greater relaxation of the K-induced contraction than nitroprusside. In a Ca<sup>2+</sup>-free medium, K<sup>+</sup> still caused a small and sustained contraction. Nitroprusside abolished the contraction in the Ca<sup>2+</sup>-free medium, which verapamil failed to inhibit. Neither nitroprusside nor verapamil affected the resting <sup>45</sup>Ca uptake measured by a lanthanum method. The K-induced increase in <sup>45</sup>Ca uptake was inhibited by verapamil, but not by nitroprusside. The results suggest that nitroprusside unlike verapamil does not act as a Ca<sup>2+</sup> influx inhibitor resulting in the relaxation of human umbilical vessels.