The effect of cerebrospinal fluid pressure (CSFP) on spinal cord blood flow (SCBF), measured by the hydrogen clearance technique, was studied in dogs. CSFP was altered by the infusion of mock CSF into the lumbar subarachnoid space. Occluding snares at T-13 limited the effect of raised pressure on the brain. As the perfusion pressure was reduced when the CSFP was increased, flow remained constant up to a perfusion pressure of approximately 50 mm Hg. Below this value, flow decreased with decreasing perfusion pressure. Normal flow values could be reestablished even at a raised CSFP if the perfusion pressure was increased by raising the arterial blood pressure. Rapid reduction of CSFP was accompanied by reactive hyperemia. The autoregulation of flow down to a perfusion pressure of 50 mm Hg was due to progressive decrease in vascular resistance. Carbon dioxide - responsiveness of the vessels was decreased markedly as the perfusion pressure was reduced.