OBJECTIVE: To study the association between the circulating concentrations of endothelin-3 and prolactin in the early puerperium. DESIGN: Prospective clinical study, including twenty-five healthy puerperal women breast-feeding their healthy full-term infants. METHODS: Venous blood was drawn on day 1 and 4 post partum, and plasma endothelin-3 and serum prolactin were determined. RESULTS: Circulating endothelin-3 and prolactin levels on day 4 did not differ significantly from the corresponding levels on day 1. However, a significant negative correlation was found on day 4 between endothelin-3 and prolactin values (r = -0.688, P < 0.001) and an even stronger negative association existed between the net change in endothelin-3 from days 1 to 4 and the corresponding change in prolactin values (r = -0.732, P < 0.001). CONCLUSIONS: On the fourth day post partum, lactating healthy women show negative correlation between circulating endothelin-3 and prolactin levels. Whether this indicates a role for endothelin-3 in the control of prolactin secretion in the post partum period remains to be clarified.