1. The effects of depletion of sensory neuropeptides from primary afferent neurones by capsaicin pretreatment, on the changes in resting gastric mucosal blood flow following administration of inhibitors of nitric oxide biosynthesis have been investigated in the pentobarbitone-anaesthetized rat. 2. Bolus administration of the NO-synthase inhibitor, NG-nitro-L-arginine methyl ester (L-NAME; 0.8-12.5 mg kg-1 i.v.), induced a dose-dependent increase in systemic arterial blood pressure (BP) and a reduction in resting mucosal blood flow, as determined by laser Doppler flowmetry. 3. Concurrent administration of L-arginine (300 mg kg-1 i.v.) attenuated the effects of L-NAME (6.25 mg kg-1) on resting mucosal blood flow and BP. The enantiomer, D-NAME (50 mg kg-1 i.v.), which does not inhibit NO biosynthesis, had no effect on either parameter. 4. The fall in mucosal blood flow induced by submaximal doses of L-NAME (0.8-3.2 mg kg-1) was substantially augmented in rats pretreated 2 weeks earlier with capsaicin. 5. The fall in resting mucosal blood flow induced by the less potent NO-synthase inhibitor, NG-monomethyl-L-arginine (L-NMMA; 1.6-25 mg kg-1 i.v.) was likewise significantly augmented in capsaicin-pretreated rats. 6. Pretreatment (15 min) with indomethacin (5 mg kg-1 i.v.) did not augment further the microvascular actions of L-NAME or L-NMMA in capsaicin-pretreated rats, suggesting the lack of interaction of endogenous prostanoids with these other mediators in regulating local blood flow. The effects of L-NAME on BP were not altered by capsaicin and indomethacin administration.7. These findings indicate that endogenous sensory neuropeptides and NO can interact in the regulation of the gastric microcirculation.