There is a large body of literature describing the causative role of oxidative stress mediated by increased levels of reactive oxygen species in the pathogenesis of cardiovascular disease such as atherosclerosis, hypertension, and restenosis after angioplasty. The positioning of a soft silicone collar around the rabbit carotid artery elicits intimal thickening. The findings from recent studies demonstrated that both intimal thickening and atherosclerosis lead to synthesis of inducible nitric oxide synthase, resulting in abundant amounts of nitric oxide. We investigated the effects of collaring and nicardipine treatment on the activities of antioxidant enzymes, superoxide dismutase and catalase, and total nitrite/nitrate levels, stable products of nitric oxide. Placing the collar increased the total nitrite/nitrate levels and decreased superoxide dismutase activity in collared arteries. Treatment with nicardipine (20 mg/kg/day, s.c.) prevented enhanced nitric oxide degradation without affecting superoxide dismutase and catalase activities. Our results suggest that enhanced nitric oxide production and superoxide anion are generated in response to the collaring, resulting in oxidative stress within the segment in this model.