Leukotriene (LT) receptors in the guinea-pig ileum were characterized using LTB4, LTC4, LTD4 and LTE4 and the LT antagonists FPL 55712, ICI 198615 and (+/-)SKF 104353. LTB4 was inactive but the other LTs induced concentration-related contractions. LTC4 responses differed to those induced by LTD4 or LTE4. Inhibitors of LT metabolism had no significant effects on any LT responses. LTD4 contractions were inhibited by all three antagonists but a resistant response was apparent at concentrations of ICI 198615 greater than 10(-8) M. All three antagonists were weak/inactive against LTC4. LTE4 was a partial agonist which antagonized LTD4 responses but had little or no activity against LTC4 or histamine. These results suggest that two distinct LT receptor types exist on guinea-pig ileum. One type is predominantly activated by LTD4 and is antagonized by three structurally distinct LT antagonists and the partial agonist LTE4. The second type is predominantly activated by LTC4 and is insensitive to the LT antagonists.