In the present study we used a bioassay to study the effects of peroxynitrite (ONOO-) on angiotensin II (A-II)-triggered tension in isolated bovine coronary arteries in order to show the consequences of the previously reported PGI2-synthase inhibition by ONOO- in this model. The following results were obtained: 1. 1 micromol L(-1) ONOO- impaired A-II-induced vasorelaxation and caused a second long lasting constriction phase. Indomethacin (10(-5)M) prevented both effects. U51605, a dual blocker of PGI2-synthase and thromboxane (TX)A2-synthase mimicked the effects of ONOO-. 2. The selective TXA2/prostaglandin endoperoxide (PGH2) receptor antagonist SQ29548 antagonized the second vasoconstriction phase after ONOO- -treatment. Since a generation of TXA2 and 8-iso-prostaglandin F2alpha could be excluded a direct action of unmetabolized PGH2 on the TXA2/PGH2 receptor was postulated. 3. ONOO- dose-dependently inhibited the conversion of 14C-PGH2 into 6-keto-PGF1alpha in isolated bovine coronary arteries with an IC50-value of 100 nM. 4. Immunoprecipitation of 3-nitrotyrosine-containing proteins with a monoclonal antibody revealed PGI2-synthase as the only nitrated protein in bovine coronary arteries treated with 1 micromol 1(-1) ONOO-. 5. Using immunohistochemistry a co-localization of PGI2-synthase and nitrotyrosine-containing proteins was clearly visible in both endothelial and vascular smooth muscle cells. We concluded that ONOO- not only eliminated the vasodilatory, growth-inhibiting, antithrombotic and antiadhesive effects of PGI2 but also allowed and promoted an action of the potent vasoconstrictor, prothrombotic agent, growth promoter, and leukocyte adherer, PGH2.