Blacks exhibit greater vasoconstriction-mediated blood pressure (BP) increases in response to stress than do whites. Endothelin-1 (ET-1), a potent vasoconstrictive peptide, has been proposed as having a role in racial differences in stress reactivity. We evaluated the hemodynamic and plasma ET- 1 levels of 41 (23 whites, 18 blacks, mean age 18.6 years) normotensive adolescent males at rest and in response to a video game challenge and forehead cold stimulation. Measurements were performed at catheter insertion and before and immediately after the 2 stressors, which were separated by 20- minute rest periods. Blacks exhibited higher absolute levels of diastolic blood pressure, total peripheral resistance index, or both in response to catheter insertion and to the video game challenge and during recovery from video game challenge and cold stimulation (P<0.05 for all). Blacks exhibited higher absolute levels of ET-1 at every evaluation point (P<0.05 for all) and greater increases in ET-1 in response to both stressors (ps<0.05). These findings suggest that altered endothelial function may be involved in racial differences in hemodynamic reactivity to stress and possibly in the development of essential hypertension.