Calcitonin gene-related peptide (CGRP) is a novel 37-amino acid peptide occurring in neurones within sensory ganglia, in brain stem, as well as in the walls of blood vessels of peripheral organs. Pial arteries of cat showed a well-developed supply of CGRP-positive nerve fibres. The peptide was found to be a potent dilator of both pial and peripheral vessels of rabbit and cat, and of pial vessels from man. The dilatory effect was independent of the vascular endothelium and was not mediated through adrenergic, cholinergic or histaminergic smooth muscle receptors. The neurogenic vasoconstriction induced by electrical field stimulation was temporarily inhibited by CGRP, as studied in central ear arteries from rabbits. The results suggest that CGRP is a transmitter or modulator playing a role in the regulation of vascular tone.