We have studied the vasoactive properties of products released from rabbit polymorphonuclear leukocytes (PMNs) before and after short-term (4 and 8 wk) dietary supplementation with 1% cholesterol. Plasma cholesterol levels were similar after 4 and 8 wk of cholesterol diet, whereas gross atherosclerotic lesions were present at 4 wk but significantly more extensive after 8 wk. PMN products from all rabbits caused endothelium-dependent contraction of isolated, control (nonatherosclerotic) rabbit aorta submaximally contracted with phenylephrine. However, both 4 and 8 wk of cholesterol feeding resulted in equivalent contractions by PMN products, which were significantly greater than contractions by control PMNs. Endothelium-dependent contraction (by PMN products) and relaxation (by acetylcholine) were attenuated by 8 wk of cholesterol feeding. PMN products attenuated acetylcholine-induced relaxation of aorta from cholesterol-fed rabbits and of control aorta treated with phenoxybenzamine to reduce muscarinic receptor reserve. We conclude that elevation of plasma cholesterol results in increased release of a PMN product(s) that causes endothelium-dependent constriction.