The present studies investigated the effect of parathyroid hypertensive factor (PHF) on intracellular calcium regulation in VSMC. Nifedipine inhibited the hypertensive effect of PHF in Sprague-Dawley (SD) rats in vivo. PHF amplified the L-type calcium current in vascular smooth-muscle cells (VSMCs) isolated from SD rat tail artery. PHF potentiated the tension induced by norepinephrine (NE) in the presence of normal added CaCl2 and inhibited the tension dependent on Ca2+ release from intracellular calcium store(s) induced by NE in SD rat tail artery helical strips. PHF potentiated the intracellular free calcium concentration ([Ca2+]i) increment induced by KCl in cultured VSMCs from SD rat tail artery. All of the in vitro cellular calcium effects of PHF temporally correlated with its delayed hypertensive effect in vivo. PHF did not affect the accumulation of inositolphosphates in SD rat tail artery. Infusion of theophylline blunted the hypertensive effect of PHF in SD rats, suggesting that PHF may stimulate phosphodiesterase (PDE) activity. We suggest that PHF may potentiate the effects of other vasoconstrictors on calcium channels and increase [Ca2+]i, which would then lead to an increase in the responsiveness of the VSMC to other vasoconstrictors, and therefore an increase in blood pressure. The action of PHF may involve stimulation of PDE activity.