Abstract The effects of niflumic acid, an inhibitor of Ca 2+-activated Cl − (Cl (Ca)) channels, were compared with those of the voltage-dependent Ca 2+ channel (VDCC) blocker nifedipine on 5-hydroxytryptamine (5-HT)- and acetylcholine-induced contractions of the rat isolated trachea. Niflumic acid (3–100 μM) induced a concentration-dependent inhibition of 5-HT (10 μM)-induced contractions, with a reduction to 37.0±9.5% of the control at the highest concentration. One micromolar nifedipine, which completely blocked 60 mM KCl-induced contractions, reduced the response to 5-HT similarly to 39.2±11.5% of the control. The inhibition of the 5-HT response was not significantly different from that produced by the combined presence of nifedipine (1 μM) and niflumic acid (100 μM), suggesting that their effects were not additive. In contrast, neither niflumic acid (3–100 μM) nor nifedipine (1 μM) inhibited acetylcholine-induced contractions. The contraction to 5-HT (10 μM) in Cl −-free solution was decreased by more than ∼85% of the control, whilst that of acetylcholine was reduced only by ∼36%. Our data show that niflumic acid exerts selective inhibitory effects on 5-HT-induced contraction, and suggest that activation of Cl (Ca) channels may be a mechanism whereby 5-HT (but not acetylcholine) induces Ca 2+ entry via VDCCs to elicit contraction.