Structural modification at one of the guanidine nitrogens of L-arginine has led to the development of a number of compounds N-G-monomethyl-L-arginine (L-NMMA), N-G-nitro-L-arginine (L-NOARG), NG-nitro-L-arginine methyl ester (L-NAME) that competitively inhibit nitric oxide synthase (NOS). It was reported that another chemically related compound known as a glycation inhibitor, aminoguanidine also inhibits NOS. Recently, two new glycation inhibitors, structurally related to aminoguanidine (AG), pyridoxal aminoguanidine (PLAG) and 8-quinoline carboxylic hydrazide (8Q) were synthesized. In this study, the effects of these two inhibitors on responses mediated by constitutive nitric oxide (NO) were investigated in vitro. For this purpose, in the present study vascular responses to phenylephrine and acetylcholine in isolated aortas were evaluated. Incubation (15 min) with PLAG and 8Q (10(-4) M for each) induced potentiation of phenylephrine-induced contraction in endothelium intact but not in endothelium denuded rings of rat aorta. The ability of PLAG or 8Q to augment phenylephrine-induced tone in endothelium containing rings was completely prevented by preincubation with L-arginine (1 mM), but not with D-arginine. Both compounds (PLAG, 8Q) did not affect acetylcholine-induced relaxation. These results suggest that both of the new compounds produced a selective inhibition of basal but not agonist stimulated production of nitric oxide in rat aorta.