We studied the effect of intracoronary leukotriene B4, C4, D4 and E4 (0.1-3 micrograms) on coronary artery blood flow and resistance in anesthetized pigs. Conventional hemodynamics were measured, and the peripheral electrocardiogram was obtained in lead II. Thromboxane B2 and 6-keto-prostaglandin F1 alpha (as breakdown products of thromboxane and prostacyclin, respectively) were measured during the influence of leukotrienes on the heart. All leukotrienes except B4 reduced coronary flow. Peak reduction was produced by 3 micrograms of each eicosanoid: C4 = 96 +/- 4%+; D4 = 98 +/- 2%+; E4 = 82 +/- 8%+. Coronary resistance increased after the same dose B4 = 65 +/- 18%; C4 = 225 +/- 94% (P less than 0.01); D4 = 442 +/- 118%+; E4 = 110 +/- 43% (+ = P less than 0.001). Increase in filling pressure and heart rate but blood pressure reduction and diminution in left ventricular d P/dtmax were observed with leukotriene C4, D4 and E4. The S-T segments of the electrocardiogram were elevated, thus indicating myocardial ischemia during the blood flow reduction. Indomethacin (5 mg/kg i.v.) had no effects on the leukotriene-induced hemodynamic sequelae. Thromboxane B2 concentration in coronary sinus blood plasma increased by 132-176% (P less than 0.05) at peak leukotriene effects on blood flow. Thus, leukotriene C4, D4, and E4 are vasoconstrictors in the situ porcine heart. Leukotriene B4, however, exerts no hemodynamic effects. The electrocardiographic ischemia and changes in hemodynamics indicate actions on coronary resistance and myocardial depression. These eicosanoids may contribute to cardiac dysfunction and vasospasm in coronary artery disease.