BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVES: The aim of this study was to determine the effect of ethanol on the regulation of vascular tone. MATERIAL AND METHODS: Using rat aorta ring, isometric contraction and 45Ca uptake were measured. Phorbol 12,13-dibutyrate (PDBu), phenylephrine, KCl were used for the regulation of smooth muscle tone. RESULTS: Ethanol induced transient contraction in rat aorta ring by dose-dependent manner. Ethanol suppressed the dose dependent contractile responses of vascular strip by phenylephrine, KCl and PDBu. Endothelium-dependent relaxation by acetylcholine was inhibited by ethanol. Ethanol depressed 45Ca uptake by high KCl but not by phenylephrine or PDBu in rat aorta. n-butanol selectively suppressed tonic contraction by high KCl, but t-butanol did not at the same concentration of butanol in rat aorta. PDBu-induced contraction was selectively suppressed by n-butanol but not by t-butanol. CONCLUSIONS: These findings suggest that the action of ethanol on phospholipase D is involved in the decreased response of rat aorta strip by vasoconstrictors.