The present study investigates the influence of endothelin (ET) related peptides (0.3-30 pmol/paw) on both phases of nociception and on edema induced by intraplantar injection of formalin (0.5% in 20 microL) in the mouse hind paw. The first phase of nociception (0-5 min after injection) was significantly potentiated by simultaneous injection of either ET-1 (10 or 30 pmol/paw) or ET-3 (10 pmol/paw), but not of the selective ET3 receptor agonist sarafotoxin S6c (SRTX-c; up to 30 pmol/paw). All three peptides potentiated the second phase (10-30 min after injection) of formalin-induced nociception (at 3-30, 1-30, and 10-30 pmol/paw for ET-1, ET-3, and SRTX-c, respectively), whereas only ET-1 (10 or 30 pmol/paw) effectively enhanced edema caused by formalin (30 min after injection). Histamine also potentiated all three responses triggered by formalin, but was 30- to 100-fold less potent than ET-1. Treatment with the mixed ETA/ETB receptor antagonist bosentan (10 mg/kg i.p., 1 h beforehand) did not influence nociceptive and edematogenic responses to formalin or their potentiation by histamine (3 nmol/paw), but did inhibit the potentiations induced by ET-1 (10 pmol/paw). Thus, ET-1 potentiates formalin-induced nociception and edema in the mouse. These actions are possibly mediated via ETB and ETA receptors, respectively, but their true identity and the mechanisms involved still remain to be fully elucidated.