1. The rate of renal excretion of arginine-vasopressin was determined during unrestricted fluid intake for 24 h and in response to fluid deprivation for 18 h in nine young men with very mild essential hypertension and compared with that in sixteen normotensive men of similar age.
2. Despite an equilavent osmolar stimulus, excretion of arginine-vasopressin was significantly greater in the hypertensive group than in the reference group. This difference increased progressively with increasing dehydration.
3. We suggest that these findings are mainly due to an increased rate of secretion of arginine-vasopressin in response to mild hydropenia in hypertensive patients and that a moderate increase of release of arginine-vasopressin during periods of fluid deprivation may exert vascular effects and thus influence the perpetuation of hypertension.