1. Intravenous infusion of propranolol (3·86 μmol h—1 kg—1) for 2 h lowered arterial pressure in the conscious rabbit whereas similar infusions of practolol (37·6 μmol h—1 kg—1) did not.

2. The fall in blood pressure produced by propranolol was accompanied by a decrease in splanchnic nerve activity. Practolol did not change splanchnic nerve activity.

3. A centrally mediated decrease in sympathetic nervous activity makes an important contribution to the hypotensive action of propranolol in the rabbit. This effect is not shown by practolol.

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