The authors studied 10 cats to assess the question of abolition of cerebral autoregulation attendant on the use of nitroprusside for hypotensive anesthesia. After the establishment of stable base line parameters, a continuous infusion of sodium nitroprusside was begun in a dose sufficient to maintain a mean systemic arterial pressure of 65 mm Hg. Infusion was continued for incremental periods of 30 seconds to 10 minutes, increasing the time of infusion by 30 seconds after each subsequent trial. At 10 seconds after the cessation of nitroprusside administration, intravenous dopamine was infused to raise the systemic arterial pressure to a mean of 100 mm Hg, and the subsequent response in intracranial pressure was recorded in each instance. In no animal was a loss of cerebral autoregulation noted when the nitroprusside infusion was maintained for 3 minutes or less. When the infusion was maintained for 4 minutes or longer, cerebral autoregulation was lost in each animal, and the length of time to return of cerebral autoregulation correlated with the duration of nitroprusside infusion. Sodium nitroprusside disturbs the integrity of cerebral pressure autoregulation, and the onset and extent of this disturbance is a dose-dependent phenomenon.