Use of automated synthesis led to the discovery of several 6-membered nitrogen heterocycles as replacements for the N-isoxazolyl substituent present in the 1-naphthalenesulfonamides endothelin-A (ETA) antagonist 5-(dimethylamino)-N-(3,4-dimethyl-5-isoxazolyl)-1-naphthalenesu lfo namides (BMS 182874). In each of these heterocycles, a small substituent such as halogen para to the position of attachment to the sulfonamide nitrogen atom was found to be advantageous for ETA receptor affinity. Of these heterocycles, 2-pyrazines offered the greatest scope for improving receptor affinity. Optimization of the substituents at the 3- and 5-positions in the pyrazine ring led to potent, ETA-selective compounds such as 5-(dimethylamino)-N-(5-chloro-3-methoxy-2-pyrazinyl)-1- naphthalenesulfonamides (7m, ETA pIC50 8.1). When dosed orally at 10 mg/kg to conscious, normotensive rats infused with big ET-1, compounds such as 7m showed significant inhibition of the pressor response with a duration of effect lasting for the 5-h course of the experiment.