We studied the role of different tachykinin receptors in mediating neurogenic vasodilation in the nasal mucosa of anesthetized pathogen-free rats. Three successive determinations of blood flow were made by injecting radionuclide-labeled microspheres suspended in 70% dextrose into the left ventricle. A selective agonist of the tachykinin NK1 receptor increased nasal blood flow, but neurokinin NK2- and NK3-selective agonists were without effect. The natural agonist of NK1 receptors, substance P (1 microgram/kg), increased nasal blood flow, an effect that was abolished by the selective NK1 receptor antagonist (+)-(2S,3S)-3-(2-methoxybenzylamino)-2-phenylpiperidine (CP-99,994). Capsaicin (25 micrograms/kg), a drug that releases tachykinins from sensory nerves, increased nasal blood flow, and this effect was significantly reduced by CP-99,994. We conclude that a significant component of neurogenic vasodilation in rat nasal mucosa is due to the stimulation of NK1 tachykinin receptors.