Abstract In this study we analyzed the changes in systemic haemodynamics induced by endothelin, 1 nmol/kg, given as an i.v. bolus to anaesthetized rats. Endothelin induced a dramatic decrease in cardiac output whereas the total peripheral resistance increased more than two times. In addition, renal blood flow decreased while renal vascular resistance increased to a similar extent. A marked decrease in blood flow to the splanchnic organs was also observed. In conclusion, endothelin seems to modulate peripheral vasomotor tone, at least under certain conditions.