The effects of endothelin 1 (ET-1) on hemodynamics and acute liver damage were studied using perfused livers of rats treated with d-galactosamine. In control liver perfused in situ with constant pressure, infusion of ET-1 into the portal vein at a concentration of 0.1 nmol/L decreased the flow rate without a significant leakage of lactate dehydrogenase (LDH) or aspartate transaminase (AST) into the effluent. In contrast, in similarly perfused liver 24 hours after treatment with d -galactosamine (800 mg/kg intraperitoneally), ET-1 caused rapid and remarkable increases in the leakage of LDH and AST from the liver accompanied by the reduction of perfusion flow to the extent similar to that observed in control livers. In addition, ET-1 decreased oxygen uptake and bile secretion in galactosamine-treated livers. The potentiating effects of ET-1 on enzyme leakage were also observed under constant flow conditions. Moreover, infusion of the thromboxane A2 analogue at a concentration of 10 nmol/L decreased the flow rate markedly, yet the rapid increases in enzyme leakage were not observed. Infusion of ET-3 induced the responses of flow reduction and the potentiation of rapid enzyme leakage similar to those obtained with ET-1. Neither the endothelin A–receptor antagonist BQ485 nor the endothelin B–receptor antagonist BQ788 could inhibit the acute liver damage caused by ET-1; instead they exaggerated its effects. The combination of both antagonists together, however, almost completely suppressed the flow reduction and the potentiation of enzyme leakage caused by ET-1. These results indicate that ET-1 is capable of aggravating acute liver damage not merely through reduction of the flow rate but through direct action on liver cells. They also suggest that both the endothelin A and endothelin B receptors are involved in this action of ET-1.