Cyclooxygenase inhibitors decrease renal blood flow in settings with decreased effective circulating volume. The present study examined the hypothesis that prostaglandins, prostaglandin E2 (PGE2) and prostacyclin (PGI2), induce relaxation of human intrarenal arteries through PGE2-EP and PGI2-IP receptors. Intrarenal arteries were microdissected from human nephrectomy samples (n=53, median diameter ≈362 μm, 88% viable, 76% relaxed in response to acetylcholine). Rings were suspended in myographs to record force development. In vessels with K(+)-induced tension (EC70: -log [mol/L]=1.36±0.03), PGE2 and PGI2 induced concentration-dependent relaxation (-log EC50: PGE2=7.1±0.3 and PGI2=7.7). The response to PGE2 displayed endothelium dependence and desensitization. Relaxation by PGE2 was mimicked by an EP4 receptor agonist (CAY10598, EC50=6.7±0.2). The relaxation after PGI2 was abolished by an IP receptor antagonist (BR5064, 10(-8) mol/L). Pretreatment of quiescent arteries with PGE2 for 5 minutes (10(-6) mol/L) led to a significant right shift of the concentration-response to norepinephrine (EC50 from 6.6±0.1-5.9±0.1). In intrarenal arteries with K(+)-induced tone, PGE2 and PGI2 at 10(-5) mol/L elicited increased tension. This was abolished by thromboxane receptor (TP) antagonist (S18886, 10(-6) mol/L). A TP agonist (U46619, n=6) evoked tension (EC50=8.1±0.2) that was inhibited by S18886. Polymerase chain reaction and immunoblotting showed EP4, IP, and TP receptors in intrarenal arteries. In conclusion, PGE2 and PGI2 may protect renal perfusion by activating cognate IP and EP4 receptors associated with smooth muscle cells and endothelium in human intrarenal arteries and contribute to increased renal vascular resistance at high pathological concentrations mediated by noncognate TP receptor.