1. A renin-like enzyme in aortic tissue of the spontaneously hypertensive rat was found to be a freely dissociable enzyme (saline homogenization) with an affinity for the renin inhibitor pepstatin. At neutral pH values, the enzyme was active in homologous plasma to produce angiotensin I, and therefore distinct from pseudorenin and cathepsin D. The arterial enzyme and semi-purified renal renin could not be distinguished on the basis of Km values by using homologous renin substrate
2. An inverse relationship between the aortic renin content of the spontaneously hypertensive rat and the progressive increase of systolic blood pressure was observed with age. In contrast to this strain of rat, aortic renin of the normotensive WKY strain did not decline with age.
3. Plasma renin concentration and the aortic renin content of the spontaneously hypertensive rat showed divergent changes in response to a blood pressure fall associated with acute diuretic therapy, chronic administration of hydrallazine and in some animals in response to chronic administration of propranolol.
4. A low sodium diet elevated both plasma and aortic renin and retarded the progressive increase of blood pressure in the spontaneously hypertensive rat. A high sodium diet accelerated the progress of hypertension with no effect on aortic or plasma renin.
5. Antihypertensive therapy (1–6 weeks), resulting in a lowering of conscious systolic blood pressure of the spontaneously hypertensive rat, consistently led to a decrease in aortic renin content.