To investigate the blood pressure lowering effect of magnesium (Mg2+) in the hypertensive rat, we measured the prostacyclin release (PGI2, as immunoreactive 6-keto-PGF1 alpha) by isolated aortae from normotensive and deoxycorticosterone acetate (DOCA)-salt hypertensive rats fed a control or Mg(2+)-enriched diet. We also studied the in vitro effect of Mg2+ on aortic PGI2 release. The Mg(2+)-enriched diet significantly decreased by 10% blood pressure in DOCA-salt hypertensive rats but not in normotensive rats. The Mg(2+)-enriched diet significantly increased by 122% aortic PGI2 release in DOCA-salt hypertensive rats, but not in normotensive rats. Mg2+ supplementation in the incubation medium (4.8 mM) significantly increased aortic PGI2 release by 94% in DOCA-salt hypertensive rats, but not in normotensive rats. These data suggest that the Mg(2+)-induced attenuation of blood pressure in DOCA-salt hypertensive rats could be linked with the enhanced vascular PGI2 release.