Substance P (SP) and ATP evoke transient, epithelium-dependent relaxation of constricted mouse tracheal smooth muscle. Relaxation to either SP or ATP is blocked by indomethacin, but the specific eicosanoid(s) involved have not been definitively identified. SP and ATP are reported to release PGE2 from airway epithelium in other species, suggesting PGE2 as a likely mediator in epithelium-dependent airway relaxation. Using mice homozygous for a gene-targeted deletion of the EP2 receptor [EP2(-/-)], one of the PGE2 receptors, we tested the hypothesis that PGE2 is the primary mediator of relaxation to SP or ATP. Relaxation in response to SP or ATP was significantly reduced in tracheas from EP2(-/-) mice. There were no differences between EP2(-/-) and wild-type tracheas in their physical dimensions, contraction to ACh, or relaxation to isoproterenol, thus ruling out any general alterations of smooth muscle function. There were also no differences between EP2(-/-) and wild-type tracheas in basal or stimulated PGE2 production. Exogenous PGE2 produced significantly less relaxation in EP2(-/-) tracheas compared with the wild type. Taken together, this experimental evidence supports the following two conclusions: EP2 receptors are of primary importance in airway relaxation to PGE2 and relaxation to SP or ATP is mediated through PGE2 acting on EP2 receptors.