Recently we reported the discovery of a series of 2-O-alkyltyrosine- (or 2-p-alkylphenylalanine), 4-threonine-, and 8-ornithine-substituted analogs of [1-penicillamine]oxytocin [( Pen1]OT) which possess prolonged anti-OT activity. In this study, we attempt to improve the potency and the duration of action of this series of OT antagonists by exploring the effects of D-stereoisomer substitution in the 2 position. We compare the in vitro anti-OT potency, expressed in pA2 values, and the duration of in vivo inhibitory action, expressed in recovery t1/2, of [Pen1]OT, [Pen1,Orn8]OT, [Pen1,Thr4]OT, [Pen1,Tyr(OMe)2,Thr4, Orn8]OT, [Pen1, Tyr(OEt)2,Thr4,Orn8]OT, [Pen1,D-Tyr(OEt)2,Thr4,Orn8]OT, [Pen1,Phe2,Thr4]OT, [Pen1,Phe(Me)2,Thr4,Orn8]OT, [Pen1,D-Phe(Me)2,Thr4,Orn8]OT, [Pen1,Phe(Et)2,Thr4,Orn8]OT, and [Pen1,D-Phe(Et)2,Thr4,Orn8]OT. The results show that modifications of the amino acid in position 2 by alkylation of the aromatic ring and use of D-stereoisomerism produce nonparallel effects on the in vitro potency and duration of action of OT antagonists. Time-action curve determinations show that long-acting OT antagonists exhibit delayed peak inhibitory action. Long action is not coupled with high potency in all cases. This dissociation between potency and duration of action gives support to our hypothesis that the potency and duration of action of these peptides may each have different conformational structure requirements.