Extracellular purines such as ATP and adenosine participate in the regulation of cardiovascular and respiratory functions through specific P1 and P2 purine receptors. These properties have mainly been described after intravenous infusion. Experiments reported herein were designed to explore the possible effect of oral ATP administration (3 or 20 mg. kg(-1). day(-1)) on vascular, cardiac, and pulmonary functions in rabbits. Whereas a unique oral dose of ATP has no effect, chronic supplementation during 14 days reduces peripheral vascular resistance, pulmonary resistance, and respiratory frequency and increases arterial PO(2). No effect on central blood pressure and heart rate is observed, but an increase of the left ventricular work index is noticed subsequent to the diminution of vascular resistance. Rather similar cardiovascular modifications are observed in rabbits given 20 mg. kg(-1). day(-1) adenosine for 14 days but without variation of respiratory parameters. These original effects of repeated oral treatment with ATP may result from an adaptive metabolic response to nucleoside supplementation that might affect the turnover of extracellular purines leading to P1- and/or P2-receptor activation.