We examined whether endothelin-1 (ET-1), a potent vasoconstrictive peptide secreted in high concentration by metastatic prostate cancer cells, produces endothelin receptor-dependent pain behavior when applied to rat sciatic nerve. ET-1 (200-800 microM) applied to the epineurial surface of rat sciatic nerve produced reliable, robust, unilateral hindpaw flinching lasting 60 min. Pre-emptive systemic morphine completely blocked this effect in a naloxone-reversible manner, suggesting that this behavior was pain-related. Equipotent doses of epineurially applied epinephrine had no effect, suggesting that ET-1 effects are on tissue sites other than sciatic nerve microvessels. Prior and co-administration of BQ-123, an endothelin-A (ET(A)) receptor antagonist, also blocked ET-1-induced hindpaw flinching establishing that pain behavior induced by ET-1 application to rat sciatic nerve is ET(A) receptor mediated.