The hyperemic response in exercising skeletal muscle is dependent on muscle fiber-type composition and fiber recruitment patterns, but the vascular control mechanisms producing exercise hyperemia in skeletal muscle remain poorly understood. The purpose of this study was to test the hypothesis that arterioles from white, low-oxidative skeletal muscle are less responsive to adenosine-induced dilation than are arterioles from diaphragm (Dia) and red, high-oxidative skeletal muscle. Second-order arterioles (2As) were isolated from the white portion of gastrocnemius muscle (WG; low-oxidative, fast-twitch muscle tissue) and two types of high-oxidative skeletal muscle [Dia and red portion of gastrocnemius muscle (RG)] of rats. Results reveal that 2As from all three types of muscle dilated in response to the endothelium-dependent dilator acetylcholine (WG: 48 +/- 3%, Dia: 51 +/- 3%, RG: 74 +/- 3%). In contrast, adenosine dilated only 2As from WG (48 +/- 4%) and Dia (46 +/- 5%) but not those from RG (5 +/- 5%). Thus adenosine-induced dilator responses differed among 2As of these different types of muscle tissue. However, the results do not support our hypothesis because 2As from Dia and WG dilated in response to adenosine, whereas 2As from RG did not. We conclude that the adenosine responsiveness of 2As from rat skeletal muscle cannot be predicted only by the fiber-type composition or oxidative capacity of the skeletal muscle tissue wherein the arteriole lies.