Endothelial cells release several factors which influence vascular tone, leukocyte function and platelet aggregation. Some of these factors are metabolites of arachidonic acid, most notably prostacyclin. However, many of the endothelial metabolites of arachidonic acid have not been positively identified. The purpose of these studies is to identify the arachidonic acid metabolites synthesized by bovine coronary endothelial cells. Cultured bovine coronary artery endothelial cells were incubated with [14C]arachidonic acid. The incubation media was extracted and the radioactive metabolites resolved by a combination of reverse phase- and normal phase-high pressure liquid chromatography (HPLC). The cells synthesized 6-keto prostaglandin (PG)F1 alpha, PGE2, 12-hydroxyheptadecatrienoic acid (HHT), 12-, 15-, and 11-hydroxyeicosatetraenoic acids (HETE), and 14,15-, 11,12-, 8,9-, and 5,6-epoxyeicosatrienoic acids (EET). Several of the HETEs were further analyzed by chiral-phase HPLC. The cells synthesized predominately 12(S)-, 15(S)-, and 11(R)-HETE. The synthesis of the S optical isomers of 12- and 15-HETE suggested that the 12- and 15-lipoxygenases were present in these cells. 11(R)-HETE is probably derived from cyclooxygenase. They also synthesized smaller amounts of 9-, 8- and 5-HETEs. The structures of the HETEs and EETs were confirmed by mass spectrometry. The release of 6-keto PGF1 alpha and 15-HETE was measured by specific radioimmunoassays. Melittin, thrombin, arachidonic acid and A23187 stimulated the release of both eicosanoids in a concentration-related matter. Under all conditions, the release of 6-keto PGF1 alpha exceed the release of 15-HETE. Therefore, cultured bovine coronary artery endothelial cells synthesize cyclooxygenase, lipoxygenase and cytochrome P-450 metabolites of arachidonic acid.