Although urotensin II (UII) has been reported to circulate in human plasma and be raised in cardiovascular disorders, little, if any, information is available regarding the source of plasma UII. Accordingly, we have performed trans-organ arteriovenous sampling for measurement of UII concentration in anesthetized sheep. Plasma UII levels were measured in the low picomolar range in normal sheep and arterial plasma levels rose steadily with increasing time of anesthesia. Significant arteriovenous gradients were observed across the heart (36%), liver (40%) and kidney (44%). This is the first report to identify the heart, liver and kidney as sources of UII in the circulation.