Myogenic responses by resistance vessels are a key component of autoregulation in brain, thus playing a crucial role in regulating cerebral blood flow and protecting the blood-brain barrier against potentially detrimental elevations in blood pressure. Although cerebrovascular disease is often accompanied by alterations in myogenic responses, mechanisms that control these changes are poorly understood. Peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor γ has emerged as a regulator of vascular tone. We hypothesized that interference with peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor γ in smooth muscle would augment myogenic responses in cerebral arteries. We studied transgenic mice expressing a dominant-negative mutation in peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor γ selectively in smooth muscle (S-P467L) and nontransgenic littermates. Myogenic tone in middle cerebral arteries from S-P467L was elevated 3-fold when compared with nontransgenic littermates. Rho kinase is thought to play a major role in cerebrovascular disease. The Rho kinase inhibitor, Y-27632, abolished augmented myogenic tone in middle cerebral arteries from S-P467L mice. CN-03, which modifies RhoA making it constitutively active, elevated myogenic tone to ≈60% in both strains, via a Y-27632-dependent mechanism. Large conductance Ca(2+)-activated K(+) channels (BKCa) modulate myogenic tone. Inhibitors of BKCa caused greater constriction in middle cerebral arteries from nontransgenic littermates when compared with S-P467L. Expression of RhoA or Rho kinase-I/II protein was similar in cerebral arteries from S-P467L mice. Overall, the data suggest that peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor γ in smooth muscle normally inhibits Rho kinase and promotes BKCa function, thus influencing myogenic tone in resistance arteries in brain. These findings have implications for mechanisms that underlie large- and small-vessel disease in brain, as well as regulation of cerebral blood flow.