This study investigated the effects of portal hypertension on gastric motor and secretory functions and the role of endothelin in rats. Control; sham-operated; endothelin-A receptor blocker, BQ 485 (1 mu g/kg)-treated; portal hypertensive; and portal hypertension +, endothelin-A receptor blocker-treated rats were subjected to tests of gastric secretory, motor, and mucosal function studies as well as gastric wall polymorphonuclear infiltration. Portal hypertension was induced by partial portal vein ligation. Portal hypertension suppressed gastric acid and total fluid secretion and delayed gastric emptying. An increase in mucosal permeability and no alteration in gastric wall myeloperoxydase activity were observed, The effects of portal hypertension on gastric secretory, motor, and mucosal functions were reversed by treatment with endothelin-A receptor blocker, BQ-485. It is concluded that portal hypertension suppresses the gastric motor and secretory functions and endothelin plays an important role in the pathophysiology of gastric alterations associated with portal hypertension.