CCl(4) cirrhotic rat liver exhibits a hyperresponse to the alpha(1)-adrenergic agonist methoxamine (Mtx) that is associated with enhanced thromboxane A(2) (TXA(2)) production and is abrogated by indomethacin. To further elucidate the molecular mechanisms involved in the hyperresponse to vasoconstrictors, portal perfusion pressure dose-response curves to Mtx were performed in CCl(4) cirrhotic rats livers after preincubation with vehicle, the cyclooxygenase (COX)-1 selective inhibitor SC-560, and the COX-2 selective inhibitor SC-236. TXA(2) production was determined in samples of the perfusate. COX-1 expression was analyzed and quantified in hepatocytes, Kupffer cells, sinusoidal endothelial cells (SEC), and hepatic stellate cells (HSC) isolated from control and cirrhotic rat livers by double-immunofluorescence staining, with specific markers for each population using flow cytometry or Western blot analysis. COX-1 protein levels were not significantly increased in cirrhotic livers, but COX-2 protein expression was increased. COX-1 inhibition, but not COX-2, significantly attenuated the response to Mtx and prevented the increased production of TXA(2). Cirrhotic livers showed an increased expression of COX-1 in SEC and reduced expression in HSC compared with control livers, whereas COX-1 was similarly distributed in Kupffer cells. Despite abundant hepatic COX-2 expression, the increased response to Mtx of cirrhotic livers is mainly dependent of COX-1. Upregulation of COX-1 in cirrhotic SEC may be responsible for the hyperesponse to Mtx.