1. The evidence for kappa-receptor heterogeneity is equivocal. We have now investigated this question by comparing the effects of five putatively selective kappa-agonists. The parameters examined were: the relative potencies in depressing hindlimb flexor muscle reflexes to noxious pinch stimuli in both spinalized and sham-spinalized rats; the reversibility of these effects by naloxone; and the effects on blood pressure. 2. Two types of drug effect was discriminated. One drug group, represented by U-50,488, U-69,593 and PD-117,302, had a potency ratio between sham and spinalized rats approximately 10 fold lower than the other group, which comprised GR103545 and CI-977. 3. Under sham-spinalized conditions, CI-977 and GR103545 at high doses caused only sub-maximal reductions of spinal reflexes. U-50,488 was still active when superimposed on these high doses of GR103545. 4. Naloxone reversed all effects, but different doses were required between compounds, with GR103545 taking some 20 times higher doses of naloxone to cause reversal than did U-50,488. 5. The effects on mean arterial pressure were opposite between groups. 6. The results imply that more than one type of naloxone-sensitive non-mu opioid receptor must be involved in mediating these complex actions of ligands that have been claimed to be selective for kappa-receptors.