We describe the pharmacological characteristics of SM-19712 (4-chloro-N-[[(4-cyano-3-methyl-1-phenyl-1H-pyrazol-5-yl)amino]carbonyl] benzenesulfonamide, monosodium salt). SM-19712 inhibited endothelin converting enzyme (ECE) solubilized from rat lung microsomes with an IC50 value of 42 nM and, at 10 - 100 microM, had no effect on other metalloproteases such as neutral endopeptidase 24.11 and angiotensin converting enzyme, showing a high specificity for ECE. In cultured porcine aortic endothelial cells, SM-19712 at 1 - 100 microM concentration-dependently inhibited the endogenous conversion of big endothelin-1 (ET-1) to ET-1 with an IC50 value of 31 microM. In anesthetized rats, either intravenous (1-30 mg/kg) or oral (10-30 mg/kg) administration of SM-19712 dose-dependently suppressed the pressor responses induced by big ET-1. In acute myocardial infarction of rabbits subjected to coronary occlusion and reperfusion, SM-19712 reduced the infarct size, the increase in serum concentration of ET-1 and the serum activity of creatinine phosphokinase. The present study demonstrates that SM-19712 is a structurally novel, nonpeptide, potent and selective inhibitor of ECE, and SM-19712 is a valuable new tool for elucidating the pathophysiological role of ECE.