The pharmacological profile of the novel tachykinin NK3 receptor antagonist SR 142801, ((S)-(N)-(1-(3-(1-benzoyl-3-(3,4-dichlorophenyl) piperidin-3-yl) propyl)-4-phenylpiperidin-4-yl)-N-methylacetamide), was studied at tachykinin NK1, NK2 and NK3 receptors, in several in vitro bioassays. In the guinea-pig isolated ileum longitudinal muscle preparation, SR 142801 (10 nM-1 microM) caused an insurmountable antagonism of tachykinin NK3 receptor-mediated contractions produced by senktide (apparent pKB = 9.27). The blockade induced by SR 142801 was essentially irreversible, since it was not removed by washout (up to 2 h) and was increased by prolonging the incubation from 15 to 120 min. SR 142801 showed similar antagonist potency at rat tachykinin NK3 receptors (portal vein) and rabbit tachykinin NK2 receptors (pulmonary artery) (pKB = 7.49 and 7.66, respectively), whereas it was distinctly less potent at hamster tachykinin NK2 receptors (trachea; pKB = 6.84) and inactive at guinea-pig tachykinin NK1 receptors (ileum, longitudinal muscle). In the guinea-pig whole ileum SR 142801 (100 nM) did not affect the contraction produced by capsaicin (1 microM). The combined SR 142801 pretreatment and tachyphylaxis of neuronal CGRP (calcitonin gene-related peptide) receptors produced a slight (about 25%), but significant reduction of the response to capsaicin, suggesting that tachykinin NK3 receptors play a minor role in capsaicin-induced neuronal excitation of afferent nerves in the guinea-pig ileum.