Neuropeptide Y (NPY) is both co-stored and co-released with noradrenaline from sympathetic nerve terminals. In the cardiovascular system, NPY acts on two main receptor subtypes. At postjunctional, or Y1 receptors, NPY can cause both direct vasoconstriction and the potentiation of various constrictor agents. NPY acting at the presynaptic, or Y2 receptor, inhibits the release of neurotransmitter from autonomic nerves. In the present paper, we have used both sympathetic stimulation and the selective NPY Y2 receptor agonist, N-acetyl [Leu28,Leu31] NPY24-36, to examine the role of NPY in the inhibition of vagally mediated vasodilatation in the bronchial circulation of the anaesthetised dog. Stimulation of the cardiac end of the cervical vagus nerve at 1 Hz for 15 s (1 ms, 70 V) increased bronchial vascular conductance by 45%. This increase in flow was abolished by atropine. Sympathetic stimulation for 2.5 min at 16 Hz (1 ms, 20 V) produced a significant (P < 0.05) and prolonged (9 min) inhibition of the subsequent parasympathetically evoked vasodilatation. Similarly, the NPY Y2 receptor agonist, N-acetyl [Leu28,Leu31] NPY24-36, produced a significant (P < 0.05) and prolonged (15 min) inhibition of parasympathetically evoked vasodilatation. When vagus was stimulated at 2.5 Hz for 30 s (1 ms, 70 V), an atropine-resistant, but capsaicin-sensitive vasodilatation was observed. Neither sympathetic stimulation nor the NPY Y2 receptor agonist could be demonstrated to inhibit this vasodilatation. These results suggest that NPY can inhibit cholinergic parasympathetic vasodilatation in the bronchial circulation by an action on NPY Y2 receptors.