Endothelin-1 (ET-1) is a potent vasoconstrictor peptide produced by vascular endothelial cells. In order to investigate the effects of ET-1 on retinal vessels, ET-1 (1-1000 pmol) was injected into the posterior vitreous body in rabbits. A high dose of ET-1 induced transient complete obstruction of the retinal vessels. In this experimental model of transient complete obstruction of the retinal vessels, the effects of ET-1 on retinal function were further analyzed by means of electroretinograms. The scotopic a-wave was not affected, but the amplitude of the scotopic b-wave was significantly elevated. The amplitude of oscillatory potentials was significantly reduced. These phenomena suggested that retinal ischemia without choroidal ischemia was brought about due to severe vasoconstriction of the retinal arteries. These findings indicate that intravitreal injection of ET-1 causes a transient cessation of blood supply from retinal vessels and that oscillatory potentials in electroretinograms appear to be sensitive for detecting changes of retinal circulation. This new model of transient complete obstruction of retinal vessels might be useful for studying the pathophysiology of severe retinal ischemia.