The vasorelaxation activities of MCPT, a newly synthesized xanthine derivative, were investigated in this study. In phenylephrine (PE)-precontracted rat aortic rings with intact endothelium, MCPT caused a concentration-dependent relaxation, which was inhibited by endothelium removed. This relaxation was also reduced by the presence of nitric oxide synthase inhibitor Nomega-nitro-L-arginine methylester (L-NAME, 100 microM), soluble guanylyl cyclase (sGC) inhibitors methylene blue (10 microM), 1 H-[1,2,4] oxidazolol [4,3-a] quinoxalin-1-one (ODQ, 1 microM), adenylyl cyclase (AC) blocker SQ 22536 (100 microM), ATP-sensitive K+ channel blocker (KATP) glibenclamide (1 microM), a Ca2+ activated K+ channels blocker tetraethylammonium (TEA, 10 mM) and a voltage-dependent potassium channels blocker 4-aminopyridine (4-AP, 100 microM). The vasorelaxant effects of MCPT together with IBMX (0.5 microM) had an additive action. In PE-preconstricted endothelium-denuded aortic rings, the vasorelaxant effects of MCPT were attenuated by pretreatments with glibenclamide (1 microM), SQ 22536 (100 microM) or ODQ (1 microM), respectively. MCPT enhanced cAMP-dependent vasodilator isoprenaline- and NO donor/cGMP-dependent vasodilator sodium nitroprusside-induced relaxation activities in endothelium-denuded aortic rings. In A-10 cell and washed human platelets, MCPT induced a concentration-dependent increase in intracellular cyclic GMP and cyclic AMP levels. In phosphodiesterase assay, MCPT displayed inhibition effects on PDE 3, PDE 4 and PDE 5. The inhibition % were 52 +/- 3.9, 32 +/- 2.6 and 8 +/- 1.1 respectively. The Western blot analysis on HUVEC indicated that MCPT increased the expression of eNOS. It is concluded that the vasorelaxation by MCPT may be mediated by the inhibition of phosphodiesterase, stimulation of NO/sGC/ cGMP and AC/cAMP pathways, and the opening of K+ channels.