We examined the interactions of endothelin (ET) with dopaminergic systems in rat brain. Using HPLC and radioimmunoassay, we found that striatum contained the highest levels of predominantly ET-1, whereas highest levels of predominantly ET-3 were found in the pituitary. Dopamine depletion in the striatum did not change the levels of immunoreactive ET, even though we have previously found a decrease in the density of ET receptors. In a comparison of spontaneously hypertensive rats (SHR) with Wistar-Kyoto (WKY) rats, ET levels were lower in cerebellum and medulla, with no difference in striatum or in other brain areas. In conclusion, ET is present in high levels in striatum, but these levels are not affected by dopamine depletion or in SHR.