1. We tested the hypothesis that nitric oxide (NO) exerts a tonic inhibitory influence on cytochrome P450 (CYP450)-dependent metabolism of arachidonic acid (AA). 2. N(omega)-nitro-L-Arginine methyl ester (L-NAME), an inhibitor of nitric oxide synthase (NOS), increased mean blood pressure (MBP), from 91+/-6 to 137+/-5 mmHg, renal vascular resistance (RVR), from 9.9+/-0.6 to 27.4+/-2.5 mmHg ml(-1) min(-1), and reduced renal blood flow (RBF), from 9.8+/-0.7 to 6.5+/-0.6 ml min(-1)) and GFR from 1.2+/-0.2 to 0.6+/-0.2 ml 100 g(-1) min(-1)) accompanied by diuresis (UV, 1.7+/-0.3 to 4.3+/-0.8 microl 100 g(-1) min (-1)), and natriuresis (U(Na)V, 0.36+/-0.04 to 1.25+/-0.032 micromol 100 g(-1) min(-1)). 3. 12, 12 dibromododec-enoic acid (DBDD), an inhibitor of omega hydroxylase, blunted L-NAME-induced changes in MBP, RVR, UV and U(Na)V by 63+/-8, 70+/-5, 45+/-8 and 42+/-9%, respectively, and fully reversed the reduction in GFR by L-NAME. Clotrimazole, an inhibitor of the epoxygenase pathway of CYP450-dependent AA metabolism, was without effect. 4. BMS182874 (5-dimethylamino)-N-(3,4-dimethyl-5-isoxazolyl)-1-naphthalenesulfo namide), an endothelin (ET)A receptor antagonist, also blunted the increases in MBP and RVR and the diuresis/natriuresis elicited by L-NAME without affecting GFR. 5. Indomethacin blunted L-NAME-induced increases in RVR, UV and U(Na)V. BMS180291 (1S-(1alpha,2alpha,3alpha,4alpha)]-2-[[3-[4-[(++ +pentylamino)carbonyl]-2-oxazolyl]-7-oxabicyclo[2.2.1]hept-2-yl ]methyl]benzenepropanoic acid), an endoperoxide receptor antagonist, attenuated the pressor and renal haemodynamic but not the renal tubular effects of L-NAME. 6. In conclusion, the renal functional effects of the CYP450-derived mediator(s) expressed after inhibition of NOS with L-NAME were prevented by inhibiting either CYP450 omega hydroxylase or cyclooxygenase or by antagonizing either ET(A) or endoperoxide receptors. 20-hydroxyeicosatetraenoic acid (20-HETE) fulfils the salient properties of this mediator.