In this study, time-dependent variations in the in vitro sensitivity of rat thoracic aorta rings to potassium chloride (KCl) and phenylephrine (Phe) were investigated. Animals were synchronized with a 12h light and 12h darkness.(lights on 08:00-20:00) schedule, and thoracic aortas were obtained at six different times of the day (1, 5, 9, 13, 17, and 21 hours after lights on). In order to avoid endothelial influence, all experiments were performed in endothelium-denuded preparations. Responses to KCI showed time-dependent variations in all the concentrations used. Phe-induced contractions also exhibited time-dependent differences. The rhythmic pattern of Phe responses did not change with the presence of the alpha(1)-adrenergic antagonist prazosin. In addition, both the EC50 values of KCl and Phe, and also the K-B values of prazosin, displayed rhythmicity. In conclusion, time of obtaining tissues is an important factor for experimental standardization in, at least, vascular smooth muscle preparations.