1. Intravenous (i.v.) administration of adenosine diphosphate (ADP), platelet activating factor (PAF) and thrombin induced a dose-related accumulation of 111indium-labelled platelets within the thoracic region of anaesthetized rabbits. 2. I.v. administration of the inhibitor of NO biosynthesis, L-NG-nitro arginine methyl ester (L-NAME; 10 mg kg-1) significantly potentiated the peak platelet accumulation induced by ADP, PAF and thrombin. Additionally L-NAME prolonged the disaggregation of platelets in comparison to D-NAME (10 mg kg-1). Such changes were reversible by the administration of L-arginine (900 mg kg-1). 3. I.v. administration of PAF induced a small accumulation of 111indium-labelled neutrophils within the pulmonary circulation which could be greatly potentiated by pretreatment of the animals with L-NAME. In contrast, thrombin administration did not cause significant accumulation of 11indium-labelled erythrocytes in the pulmonary circulation of anaesthetized rabbits. 4. Intracarotid (i.c.) administration of thrombin induced a marked accumulation of radiolabelled platelets within the cranial vasculature which was not potentiated by the prior administration of L-NAME (at either 10 mg kg-1 or 100 mg kg-1). 5. These results suggest that endogenous NO may regulate platelet and polymorphonuclear leukocyte activation within the pulmonary but not the cerebral circulation of rabbits.