In conscious unrestrained Long-Evans rats, chronically instrumented with miniaturized pulsed Doppler flow probes, intravenous administration of porcine neuromedin U-8 by bolus (0.1 and 1.0 nmol) or infusion (1 and 10 nmol/h) exerted potent constrictor effects on the superior mesenteric vascular bed. With the choice of an appropriate dose, the reduction in superior mesenteric blood flow was not accompanied by any changes in systemic arterial blood pressure, heart rate, and renal or hindquarters blood flows. Porcine neuromedin U-25 had similar effects to neuromedin U-8, but was generally more potent. In Brattleboro rats the pattern of response to neuromedin U-25 was similar to that seen in Long-Evans rats, indicating that mesenteric vasoconstriction was not dependent on release of endogenous vasopressin. In Long-Evans rats the regional hemodynamic actions of rat neuromedin U were comparable with those of porcine neuromedin U-25. The latter peptide at a dose of 1.0 nmol caused a rise in total peripheral resistance and a reduction in cardiac output, with an inconsistent change in heart rate. The results raise the possibility that the high concentration of neuromedin U in the rat intestine is associated with the control of local blood flow.