Species differences in the hydrolysis of isocarbacyclin methyl ester (TEI-9090) in whole blood and in its separated components were studied in rats, dogs and human. Esterase activity in rat whole blood was approximately 100 and 400 times higher than that in dog and human whole blood, respectively, and was attributed to high plasma activity. In contrast, TEI-9090 hydrolysis activities in dog and human blood were due to red blood cells (RBC), whose activity in humans was slightly suppressed by albumin. In dogs, activity in RBC membranes was 10 times greater than in the cytosol, while in human membrane and cytosol activity was virtually the same. The effects of the esterase inhibitor diisopropylfluorophosphate, bis-p-nitrophenylphosphate (BNPP), eserine, 5,5'-dithiobis-(2-nitrobenzoic acid) (DTNB) and p-chloromercuribenzoate showed that the rat plasma and RBC cytosol esterases hydrolysing TEI-9090 were carboxylesterase (CarbE) and arylesterase (ArE), respectively. The esterases in dog plasma and RBC membrane were CarbE, and RBC cytosol esterase was ArE. In humans, the esterase activities in plasma, RBC membrane and cytosol were butyrylcholinesterase, CarbE and ArE, respectively.