Endothelin-1 is an endothelium-derived vasoconstrictor peptide, possibly involved in the pathophysiology of cardiovascular disease. We examined the contribution of endogenously generated endothelin-1 to maintenance of peripheral vascular tone in healthy subjects by local intraarterial administration of an inhibitor of endothelin converting enzyme, phosphoramidon, and of a selective endothelin receptor A antagonist, BQ-123. Brachial artery infusion of local doses of proendothelin-1, the precursor to endothelin-1, caused a slow-onset dose-dependent forearm vasoconstriction which was abolished by co-infusion of phosphoramidon. Phosphoramidon did not affect responses to endothelin-1. Phosphoramidon caused slow-onset vasodilatation when infused alone, with blood flow increasing by 37% at 90 min (p = 0.03). Vasoconstriction to endothelin-1 was abolished by co-infusion of BQ-123 (p = 0.006), with forearm blood flow tending to increase. Infusion of BQ-123 alone caused progressive vasodilatation, with blood flow increasing by 64% after 60 min (p = 0.007). These results show that endogenous production of endothelin-1 contributes to the maintenance of vascular tone. Endothelin converting enzyme inhibitors and receptor antagonists may have therapeutic potential as vasodilators.