In the bladder, nitric oxide (NO) is released from neuronal and non-neuronal sources, but its actions are unclear. Strips of urothelium plus lamina propria contract in response to agonists and develop spontaneous phasic contractions, and the aim of this study was to investigate the influence of NO on this activity. Isolated strips of urothelium/lamina propria from porcine bladder developed spontaneous contractions (3.5 ± 0.3 cycles/min) and contracted in response to carbachol and electrical field stimulation (EFS). The NO synthase inhibitor N ω-nitro-l-arginine (L-NNA, 100 μM) had no effects on the tissues, but the NO donors diethylamine NONOate (DEANO, 100 μM) and nitroprusside (10 μM) caused relaxation, slowed the spontaneous rate of contractions and inhibited responses to carbachol. Maximum tonic contractions to carbachol were reduced by 17 ± 4% (P < 0.001) and 35 ± 5% (P < 0.001) by DEANO and nitroprusside respectively and the potency of carbachol was also reduced. Carbachol also increased the spontaneous frequency of contraction and these rate responses were again inhibited by DEANO and nitroprusside, but unaffected by L-NNA. Similarly, responses to EFS were significantly depressed (52-70%) by DEANO (P < 0.05), but were unaffected by L-NNA. These data demonstrate spontaneous contractile activity and also nerve and agonist-induced tonic contractile activity within the urothelium and lamina propria. This activity is sensitive to depression by NO, but NO does not appear to be spontaneously released to influence this activity, nor does it appear to be released by muscarinic receptor stimulation. However the results suggest that in situations where NO production is increased, NO can influence the contractile activity of this tissue.