Tachykinin NK1 receptors are present on human pulmonary arteries. Addition of the specific tachykinin NK1 receptor agonist, [Met-OMe11]substance P produced a concentration-dependent relaxation (0.1 nM to 100 nM) in pulmonary arteries preconstricted with phenylephrine (30 microM). The EC50 (agonist concentration needed to produce 50% of the maximal relaxation) value for [Met-OMe11]substance P was 3.7+/-0.7 nM. The relaxation induced by [Met-OMe11]substance P was selectively inhibited by the tachykinin NK1 receptor antagonist CP 99994 (1 nM), with a pKb of 9.9+/-0.3. Treatment with the tachykinin NK2 receptor antagonist SR 48968 (100 nM) did not significantly affect the vasorelaxation due to [Met-OMe11]substance P (P > 0.05, one-way analysis of variance; ANOVA).