The vasodilator profile of calcitonin gene-related peptide (CGRP) was compared in large diameter (3-4 mm outer diameter) and small diameter (less than 1 mm outer diameter) rings from porcine left anterior descending coronary arteries (LAD). CGRP relaxed both sized rings in an endothelium-independent manner but was 10 X more potent in small compared to large diameter rings. Repeated administration of CGRP to small diameter rings did not cause the development of tolerance to its effects, whereas in the large diameter rings marked tolerance developed. Pretreatment with the CGRP peptide fragment, CGRP-(8-37) antagonised the vasodilator effects of CGRP in a concentration-dependent manner, but in large diameter rings, the antagonistic potency of CGRP-(8-37) was 10 X less than that seen in the small diameter rings. This differing vasodilator profile of CGRP in small and large diameter rings of pig LADs may be related to a differential CGRP receptor distribution along their length.