Experimental studies reveal that inhaled nitric oxide (NO) can prevent, worsen, or have no effect on lung injury in the setting of ischemia-reperfusion (I-R). We tested the hypothesis that these disparate effects could be related to differences in the timing of administration and/or concentration of inhaled NO during I-R. Isolated rat lungs were subjected to 1-h periods of ischemia followed by 1-h periods of blood reperfusion. We investigated the effects of NO (30 ppm) given during ischemia, NO (30 or 80 ppm) begun immediately at reperfusion, or NO (30 ppm) given 15 min after the beginning of reperfusion, on total pulmonary vascular resistance (PVR), the coefficient of filtration (Kfc), the lung wet/dry weight ratio (W/D) of lung tissue, and lung myeloperoxidase activity (MPO). A control group did not receive NO. NO given during ischemia had no effect on Kfc or MPO, but decreased PVR. NO (30 ppm) during reperfusion (early or delayed) decreased PVR, W/D, Kfc and MPO. NO at 80 ppm decreased PVR and MPO but not W/D or Kfc. In conclusion, NO at 30 ppm, given immediately or in a delayed fashion during reperfusion, attenuates I-R-induced lung injury. NO at 30 ppm given during ischemia or at 80 ppm during reperfusion is not protective.