Thiazolidinediones (TZDs) improve vascular endothelial dysfunction through non-genomic effects of peroxisomal proliferator-activated receptor gamma. This study investigated the acute effect of one of the TZD, rosiglitazone, on endothelium-dependent relaxation response of corpus cavernosum (CC) in hypercholesterolemic rabbits. New Zealand rabbits were divided into two groups randomly as control and cholesterol groups. Hypercholesterolemia was induced by feeding rabbits with 2% cholesterol diet (w/w) for 6 weeks. Endothelium-dependent and -independent relaxation response of CC were evaluated in the presence of rosiglitazone by organ bath studies with cumulative doses of acetylcholine (Ach) and sodium nitroprusside (SNP). Maximal relaxation (Emax) response to Ach significantly decreased owing to hypercholesterolemia in CC tissues. However, in vitro incubation of rosiglitazone with different concentrations (0.1, 1 and 10 mu M) did not improve the Ach-dependent Emax responses in hypercholesterolemic rabbit CC. Surprisingly, rosiglitazone caused a significant decrease in Ach-dependent relaxation in healthy CC. Emax responses to SNP did not differ in the presence of rosiglitazone in both the control and hypercholesterolemic groups. Rosiglitazone does not improve hypercholesterolemia-induced endothelial dysfunction in CC tissues while it dose-dependently impairs endothelium-dependent relaxation in healthy CC tissue.