1. The pressor role of renin stimulated by chronic diuretic therapy has been assessed in 31 patients with essential hypertension by infusing the angiotensin II antagonist, saralasin, immediately before and at the end of 2 weeks' treatment with the diuretic, chlorthalidone.
2. Under diuretic therapy the change in blood pressure caused by saralasin was found to be correlated to plasma renin activity values, in such a way that small pressor responses were again observed in patients whose renin was mildly stimulated by the diuretic, whereas a marked depressor response occurred in patients whose renin was markedly increased.
3. On the other hand, the hypotensive effect of chlorthalidone was correlated to values of plasma renin activity under diuretic therapy in an opposite direction: indeed little or no decrease and sometimes an increase in blood pressure were observed in patients with marked renin activation by diuretic therapy.
4. It is concluded that stimulation of renin release by chronic diuretic therapy can be considered a factor limiting the hypotensive activity of diuretic drugs.