Reasons for performing study: Endothelin-1 (ET-1) may be a key mediator in the pathogenesis of laminitis, but endothelin-mediated responses in the venous microcirculation of the equine foot have yet to be fully characterised. Objectives: To characterise the response of equine laminar veins to ET-1 and evaluate the ET-1 receptor subtypes that mediate this response. Methods: Small veins (150-500 gm) draining the equine digital laminae from healthy horses and ponies subjected to euthanasia at an abattoir were investigated using wire myography. Concentration response curves were constructed for ET-1 in the presence of ETA (BQ123) and ETB (BQ788) receptor antagonists, and L-NAME, a nitric oxide synthase blocker. The selective ETB receptor agonist BQ3020 was investigated alone and following incubation with L-NAME, with or without BQ788. Results: Endothelin-1 contraction of laminar veins was significantly inhibited by BQ123 but not by BQ788. In the presence of L-NAME, sensitivity of laminar veins to ET-I was enhanced 4-fold, and further addition of BQ788 did not alter this increased sensitivity. BQ3020 induced no venoconstriction; however, in the presence of L-NAME, it caused contraction of veins with approximately 30% of the efficacy of ET-1. The action of BQ3020 in the presence of L-NAME was abolished by BQ788. Conclusions: Both ETA and ETB receptors are involved in the net tonic response to ET-1 in normal laminar veins. A population of ETB receptors may be present on the vascular endothelium and on smooth muscle of laminar veins, and the action of ET-1 at these 2 sites is likely to be approximately equal and opposite. Potential relevance: Our results clarify the function of the ET-1 receptor subtypes in laminar veins from healthy horses. Further study of ET-1 receptors in laminitic horses is therefore warranted.