Protective effects of a new endothelin (ET) receptor antagonist, TAK-044, were studied in a model of acute renal failure (ARF) in rats. ARF was induced by clamping the left renal pedicle for 45 minutes with contralateral nephrectomy and subsequent reperfusion of the left kidney. Plasma creatinine concentration (Pcr) increased to 2.28 mg/dl 24 hours after reperfusion of the ischemic kidney. Intravenous administration of TAK-044 (1-10mg/kg) prior to renal occlusion dose-dependently but partially attenuated the increase in Pcr and the morphological damages of the kidney. ET-1 and ET-3 increased perfusion pressure in isolated kidney preparations with similar potency, indicating that the renal vasoconstriction evoked by these ET isomers is mainly via ETB receptors, and TAK-044 (10nM) shifted the ET-1 dose-response curve to the right by a factor about 10. In a rat renal membrane fraction, ET-1 showed competitive inhibition of specific [125I]ET-1 binding with an IC50 value of 0.34nM and a Hill slope of 1.10. ET-3 did so with a higher IC50 value (3.3nM) and a lower Hill slope (0.56), suggesting that rat kidney contains both ETA and another receptor subtype, probably ETB. TAK-044 inhibited ET-1 binding with an IC50 value of 6.6nM and a Hill slope of 0.41. Plasma concentrations of immunoreactive TAK-044 were maintained over 7nM for 8 hours following i.v. injection of 10mg/kg TAK-044. These results suggest that endogenous ET is involved in the pathogenesis of post-ischemic ARF, at least, in part and that TAK-044 provided protective effects against ARF by blocking ET receptors, possibly both ETA and ETB receptors in renal vasculature and parenchymal cells.