Whether pressor responses mediated by alpha-2 adrenoceptors are more susceptible to calcium antagonists than those mediated by alpha-1 adrenoceptors was investigated in anesthetized, spinal dogs. All drugs were administered i.v. Methoxamine (3-100 mu/kg) or xylazine (3-300 micrograms/kg) produced a sustained increase in mean arterial pressure but almost no effect on heart rate. Both the initial and the sustained phase of the pressor response to methoxamine were selectively antagonized by prazosin, whereas those to xylazine were selectively antagonized by yohimbine. These results indicate that the peripheral arterial bed of the dog comprises alpha-1 and alpha-2 adrenoceptors and that both the initial and sustained phases of the pressor response to methoxamine are predominantly mediated by alpha-1 adrenoceptors, whereas those to xylazine are mediated by alpha-2 adrenoceptors. The calcium antagonists, i.e., nifedipine (0.3-3 micrograms/kg), diltiazem (10-100 micrograms/kg) and KB-944 (10-100 micrograms/kg), administered during the sustained phase of the pressor responses to equieffective doses of methoxamine (100 micrograms/kg) and xylazine (1000 micrograms/kg), lowered mean arterial pressure. The three calcium antagonists in these doses also lowered the baseline mean arterial pressure but to a lesser extent than the elevated one. These results altogether indicate that the calcium antagonists were more effective in lowering mean arterial pressure elevated by either an alpha-1 or alpha-2 adrenoceptor agonist than the base-line mean arterial pressure and that the sustained phase of the pressor response mediated by alpha-1 adrenoceptors would involve Ca++ influx as much as or more than those mediated by alpha-2 adrenoceptors.