Freshly harvested rabbit aortic endothelial cells on filters were exposed to two 3 min periods of a sixfold increase in flow rate of the perfusion buffer. This led to an increase in the levels of endothelin and ATP in the perfusate; arginine vasopressin remained at the basal level. Less ATP was released on the second exposure to high flow; however, endothelin release was not diminished. Using immunohistochemical techniques, endothelin and arginine vasopressin were localised in the same population of endothelial cells; endothelin and vasopressin were present in approximately 90% and 70% of endothelial cells, respectively, which suggests that there is some co-localisation. This is the first time that a stimulation has been shown to produce rapid release of endothelin.