We have reported previously that thromboxane A2/prostaglandin (PG)H2 and serotonin independently mediate the occurrence of cyclic flow variations (CFVs) in a canine preparation of severe coronary artery narrowing. This may be due to an effect of these substances on platelets and/or the vascular wall. We tested the hypothesis that there is a cooperative effect between thromboxane A2/PGH2 and serotonin receptor stimulation in the development of CFVs in this animal preparation. After placement of a hard plastic cylindrical constrictor around the left anterior descending coronary artery, CFVs develop and are characterized by repetitive cycles of declines in coronary blood flow and abrupt increases in flow. In a control group of dogs, CFV frequency (cycles/hour) and severity (lowest coronary blood flow just before its restoration) did not change significantly over a 3 hr interval. In a second group of dogs, CFVs were established after constrictor placement, abolished with the serotonin (5HT2) receptor antagonist ketanserin, and reestablished by the continuous infusion of serotonin into the left atrium. Serotonin-induced CFVs were then abolished with a thromboxane A2/PGH2 receptor antagonist, SQ29,548, or a thromboxane synthetase inhibitor, dazoxiben (UK37,248). The relative specificity of the respective antagonists, SQ29,548 and ketanserin, was determined in canine platelets and rat aortic vascular strips. No significant cross-reactivity between ketanserin and SQ29,548 was found. Thus, the data obtained in these studies demonstrate a cooperative interaction between thromboxane A2/PGH2 and serotonin S2 receptors that contributes to the development of CFVs in this experimental preparation.