Low concentrations of copper inhibited responses to norepinephrine and angiotensin (IC50 3 X 10(-6) M) but not to potassium in rat mesenteric vascular preparations perfused either with buffer or indomethacin and prostaglandin (PGE2). The dose-response curve was not shifted by indomethacin, imidazole, or PGE2 but was moved to the right by 2.8 X 10(-11) M PGE1 and to the left by 2.8 X 10(-7) M PGE1. These effects of copper are similar to the effects of PGI2 in the preparation. Copper moved the PGI2 dose-response curve against noradrenaline in parallel to the left, suggesting that the two were interacting at some point. Penicillamine, which may stimulate PGE1 synthesis, had PGE1-like interactions with the copper effect, suggesting that its value in Wilson's disease may be partly due to antagonism of the biological action of copper as well as to its copper-chelating properties.