Aspirin and sodium salicylate enhance to a similar extent the production of nitric oxide (NO) in cultured smooth muscle cells following stimulation by interleukin-1beta (IL-1beta). The similar potencies of aspirin and sodium salicylate indicate that acetylation of cellular macromolecules is not essential for the enhancement of NO production. The failure of added prostaglandin E2 (PGE2) or Thromboxane A2 (TXA2) to overcome the effects of aspirin or sodium salicylate indicates that these effects are not simply the result of inhibition of prostaglandin synthesis. The enhancement of NO production occurs dependent of the effects of these agents on induction of inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS) expression by IL-1beta. Aspirin and sodium salicylate enhance the induction of iNOS expression by IL-1beta. We previously reported that pretreatment of vascular smooth muscle cells (VSMCs) with high glucose decreased the response of the cells by IL-1beta, that is, the induction of iNOS expression and NO production. We investigated the effect of aspirin and sodium salicylate on the response by IL-1beta of VSMCs pretreated with high glucose (25 mM). Aspirin and sodium salicylate ameliorate the down-regulation of iNOS expression and the decrease of NO production caused by pretreatment with high glucose (25 mM). These results suggest a possible therapeutic role in atherosclerotic disease and diabetes mellitus for aspirin and sodium salicylate by enhancing the level of iNOS expression and NO production.