To investigate the vasorelaxant efficacy of nitrite and nitroxyl (HNO) in porcine coronary (micro)arteries (PC(M)As), evaluating their role as endothelium-derived hyperpolarizing factors (EDHFs), preconstricted PCAs and PCMAs were exposed to UV light (a well-known inductor of nitrite; wave-length: 350-370 nm), nitrite, the HNO donor Angeli's salt, or bradykinin. UV light-induced relaxation of PCAs increased identically after endothelium removal and endothelial nitric oxide (NO) synthase (eNOS) blockade. UV light-induced relaxation diminished during Na+-K+-ATPase inhibition and S-nitrosothiol-depletion, and disappeared during NO scavenging with hydroxocobalamin or soluble guanylyl cyclase (sGC) inhibition with ODQ. Nitrite-induced relaxation of PCAs required millimolar levels, i.e., > 1000 times endogenous vascular nitrite. Angeli's salt relaxed PCMAs more potently than PCAs, and this was due to the fact that HNO directly activated sGC in PCMAs, whereas in PCAs this occurred following its conversion to NO only. sGC activation by NO/HNO resulted in Na+-K+-ATPase stimulation and K-v channel activation. The HNO scavenger L-cysteine blocked bradykinin-induced relaxation in PCAs, and potentiated it in PCMAs. The latter did not occur in the presence of hydroxocobalamin, suggesting that it depended on L-cysteine-induced generation of vasorelaxant S-nitrosothiols. In all experimental setups, incubation with red wine extract mimicked the effects of ODQ. In conclusion, nitrite, via its conversion to NO and S-nitrosothiols, and HNO, either directly, or via its conversion to NO, mediate relaxant effects involving the sGC-cGMP pathway, Na+-K+-ATPase and/or K-v channels. Red wine extract counteracts these beneficial effects. NO blocks nitrite activation, and HNO, but not nitrite, may act as EDHF in the coronary vascular bed. (C) 2012 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.