The effects of two structurally similar pyrazine derivatives, tetramethylpyrazine (TMP) and tetraethylpyrazine (TEP) on the contractile responses of dog saphenous vein to KCl (via membrane depolarization), phenylephrine (PHE, α1-adrenergic agonist), and B-HT 920 (α2-adrenergic agonist) were investigated. The relaxant or inhibitory effect of TMP and TEP was most potent on KCl-induced responses and least potent on PHE-induced responses. Their effect on KCl-induced responses was more prominent at 30 mM KCl than at 100 mM KCl. In Ca2+-free medium, PHE and B-HT 920 elicited transient responses, which were also markedly and reversibly inhibited by TMP and TEP. Similar results were also obtained when prostaglandin F2α was used as an agonist. In all four types of contractile responses involving different receptors, the inhibitory effect of TEP was consistently more potent than that of TMP. We conclude that both TMP and TEP behave as a nonselective smooth muscle relaxant having similar and multiple actions including their general interference with the processes involving both Ca2+ entry and intracellular Ca2+ release.Key words: vascular smooth muscle, calcium channels, tetramethylpyrazine, tetraethylpyrazine, α-adrenoceptors, saphenous vein.