Anterograde fast axonal transport (FAxT) maintains synaptic function and provides materials necessary for neuronal survival. Localized changes in FAxT are associated with a variety of central nervous system (CNS) neuropathies, where they may contribute to inappropriate remodeling, a process more appropriately involved in synaptic plasticity and development. In some cases, developmental remodeling is regulated by localized secretion of endothelins (ETs), neuroinflammatory peptides that are also pathologically elevated in cases of neurologic disease, CNS injury, or ischemia. To investigate the potential role of ETs in these processes, we decided to test whether locally elevated endothelin-1 (ET-1) modulates FAxT in adult CNS tissues. We used the established in vivo rat optic nerve model and a novel ex vivo rat hippocampal slice model to test this hypothesis. In vivo, exogenously elevated vitreal ET-1 significantly affected protein composition of FAxT-cargos as well as the abundance and peak delivery times for metabolically-labeled proteins that were transported into the optic nerve. Proteins with molecular weights of 139, 118, 89, 80, 64, 59, 51, 45, 42, 37, and 25 kDa were evaluated at injection-sacrifice intervals (ISIs) of 24, 28, 32, and 36 hr. In acute hippocampal slices maintained on nonvascular supplies of glucose and oxygen, ET-1 significantly decreased the distance traveled along the Schaffer collateral tract by nonmetabolically-labeled lipid rafts at 5 and 10 min after pulse-labeling. In both models, ET-1 significantly affected transport or targeted delivery of FaxT-cargos, suggesting that ET-1 has the potential to modulate FAxT in adult CNS tissues. © 2005 Wiley-Liss, Inc.