1. Dose—response curves for the pressor activity of angiotensin II have been determined in unanaesthetized rats receiving diets containing 2·5% (w/w) or 0·007% (w/w) sodium; the different diets were administered in various sequences.
2. In comparison with those from rats receiving a low sodium diet, the dose—response curves were displaced to the left on the high sodium diet, indicating a greater response to angiotensin, and this displacement persisted for a period of approximately 7 days after the diet was changed from high to low sodium. The dose—response curve subsequently shifted to the right when the low sodium diet was maintained for longer.
3. There was a negative correlation between the slope of the dose—response curve and the basal blood pressure in all groups; the correlation was significant in three out of the five different treatment groups.
4. Basal blood pressures were significantly raised in rats on the high sodium diet for 7 days.
5. A number of possible mechanisms have been considered to explain both the parallel shift of the dose—response curve and alteration in its slope. It is concluded that the observed findings are compatible with an action of sodium-loading on the sensitivity of the smooth muscle cell to angiotensin, on the resting of the renin—angiotensin system, on the rate of in-activation of angiotensin and on a change in initial length of the muscle fibre.