Mouse gastric fundus strips were relaxed by ultraviolet light (UV) irradiation, exogenous nitric oxide (NO), isoproterenol, S-nitrosoglutathione, S-nitroso-L-cysteine and S-nitroso-N-acetyl-penicillamine. Glutathione did not affect relaxations in response to UV irradiation, exogenous NO and isoproterenol while inhibiting that with S-nitrosoglutathione. L-Cysteine inhibited responses to UV irradiation and exogenous NO, but not in the presence of exogenous Cu2+/Zn2+ superoxide dismutase. However, L-Cysteine alone or in combination with Cu2+/Zn2+, superoxide dismutase did not affect the relaxations in response to S-nitroso-L-cysteine. Ethacrynic acid and diamide inhibited photorelaxations but not the relaxations with exogenous NO and isoproterenol. This inhibition was prevented by glutathione, but not by L-cysteine. S-nitrosoglutathione-induced relaxations were abolished by diamide and ethacrynic acid, whereas responses to S-nitroso-L-cysteine and S-nitroso-N-acetyl-penicillamine were only inhibited by ethacrynic acid. These results suggest that S-nitrosoglutathione may, at least in part, be the putative S-nitrosothiol, which is converted to NO in response to UV irradiation in mouse gastric fundus strips. (C) 2002 Elsevier Science B.V. All rights reserved.