1. The relations between the changes in plasma renin activity (PRA) and urinary catecholamine excretion (UCA) or plasma noradrenaline concentration have been investigated (a) in patients with benign primary hypertension, with renovascular hypertension and with idiopathic asympatheticotonic hypotension (ASH), and (b) during orthostasis and after administration of frusemide, of the β-blocking agent tenormin, of clonidine and of dihydralazine.
2. In primary hypertension noradrenaline and mean arterial pressure (Pm) showed a close positive correlation.
3. The mean values of both PRA and UCA were higher in renovascular hypertension than in primary hypertension and extremely low in ASH. The overlap of individual values between the patient groups was markedly reduced by using the quotient PRA/UCA. There was a statistically significant positive correlation between PRA and UCA in primary hypertension and in renovascular hypertension, with a different slope of the regression lines.
4. The increase of PRA and of noradrenaline during orthostasis was closely correlated. Frusemide and β-receptor blockade changed the slope of the regression line by additional stimulation or inhibition respectively of PRA.
5. Clonidine decreased, and dihydralazine increased both PRA and noradrenaline concentration. These changes again showed a significant positive correlation. The fall of mean arterial pressure produced by clonidine was correlated with the decrease of PRA and of noradrenaline concentration.