1. Circulating kinins were detected and continuously assayed during hypotension due to haemorrhage in dogs, using the blood-bathed organ technique and isolated strips of cat jejunum as the assay tissue.
2. In arterial blood kinin concentrations of 1–5 ng/ml were attained after a hypotension of 35–65 mmHg had been maintained for 10–190 min. When portal venous blood was simultaneously assayed kinins appeared earlier and in concentrations 1–2 ng/ml higher than in arterial blood. No differences in time course of kinin generation or in concentration were found when mixed venous blood and arterial blood were compared. In those instances in which the blood pressure was restored to normal by returning the shed blood, kinin formation stopped.
3. Kinin generation was due to the presence in the circulation of a kinin-forming enzyme, such as kallikrein. When kallikrein was infused into the portal vein, it was partially inactivated by the liver.
4. Prolonged intravenous infusions of kallikrein (20–60 mu kg−1 min−1) generated kinins in the circulation in concentrations (1–5 ng/ml) which were well maintained throughout the infusion, demonstrating that kinin generation is not limited by depletion of the precursor kininogen; nevertheless, the effects of kallikrein infusions on the blood pressure and central venous pressure waned.
5. It is concluded that in hypotension due to haemorrhage, an active kallikrein appears in the portal circulation. Delay in the appearance of kallikrein in the systemic circulation may be due to the kallikrein inactivating mechanism of the liver. This inactivating mechanism may fail during shock. Kinins are generated in amounts sufficient to have a substantial effect on the circulation and an influence on the course of events in shock.