The effects of intrathecal administration of prostaglandins on pain responses in conscious mice were evaluated by using hot plate and acetic acid writhing tests. Prostaglandin D2 (0.5-3 ng/mouse) had a hyperalgesic action on the response to a hot plate during a 3-60 min period after injection. Prostaglandin E2 showed a hyperalgesic effect at doses of 1 pg to 10 ng/mouse, but the effect lasted shorter (3-30 min) than that of prostaglandin D2. Similar results were obtained by acetic acid writhing tests. The hyperalgesic effect of prostaglandin D2 was blocked by simultaneous injection of a substance P antagonist (greater than or equal to 100 ng) but not by AH6809, a prostanoid EP1-receptor antagonist. Conversely, prostaglandin E2-induced hyperalgesia was blocked by AH6809 (greater than or equal to 500 ng) but not by the substance P antagonist. Prostaglandin F2 alpha had little effect on pain responses. These results demonstrate that both prostaglandin D2 and prostaglandin E2 exert hyperalgesia in the spinal cord, but in different ways.