The effect of unilateral, electrical stimulation of the cervical sympathetic chain in rabbits anesthetized with pentobarbital sodium and vasodilated by hypercapnia, acetazolamide, papaverine or PGI2 was investigated to determine to what extent the sympathetic nerves to the brain and the eye cause vasoconstriction and prevent overperfusion in previously vasodilated animals. Evans blue was given as a tracer for protein leakage. Blood flow determinations were made with the labelled microsphere method during normotension and acute arterial hypertension. Hypertension was induced by ligation of the thoracic aorta and in some animals metaraminol or angiotensin was also used. Acetazolamide caused a two to threefold increase in cerebral blood flow (CBF) and hypercapnia resulted in a fivefold increase. CBF was not markedly affected by papaverine or PGI2. In the choroid plexus, the ciliary body and choroid, papaverine and hypercapnia caused significant blood flow increases on the control side. Sympathetic stimulation induced a 12% blood flow reduction in the brain in normotensive, hypercapnic animals. Marked effects of sympathetic stimulation at normotension were obtained under all conditions in the eye. In the hypertensive state the CBF reduction during sympathetic stimulation was moderate, but highly significant in hypercapnic or papaverine-treated animals as well as in controls. Leakage of Evans blue was more frequently seen on the nonstimulated side of the brain. In the eye there was leakage only on the control side except in PGI2-treated animals where 2 rabbits had bilateral leakage. The effect of sympathetic stimulation on the blood flow in the cerebrum and cerebellum in vasodilated animals seems to be small or absent if the blood pressure is normal. In the eye pronounced vasoconstriction occurs under these conditions. In acute arterial hypertension sympathetic stimulation protects both the cerebral and ocular barriers even under conditions of marked vasodilation.