1. To evaluate the effects of converting-enzyme inhibition on the sympathetic nervous system, on renin and on the other known regulators of aldosterone secretion, we measured blood pressure, heart rate, plasma noradrenaline, adrenaline, renin activity, aldosterone, cortisol and serum potassium in 15 sodium-repleted hypertensive patients in supine position and during 30 min of 65° head-up tilt before and during treatment with SQ 14 225.
2. SQ 14 225 produced significant decreases in supine blood pressure and plasma aldosterone and significant increments in plasma renin activity and potassium; in contrast, heart rate, noradrenaline, adrenaline and cortisol were unchanged.
3. While in control tilt studies blood pressure was always maintained, during treatment three of 15 patients had vasovagal syncopes. In the remaining 12 blood pressure was maintained during tilt on SQ 14 225; however, while the tilt-induced responses in heart rate and adrenaline were as in control studies, the 30 min increments in noradrenaline were significantly higher.
4. Both before and during treatment the responses of plasma renin activity and aldosterone to tilt were parallel, and correlated with each other, and cortisol and potassium changed only slightly.
5. It is concluded that the SQ 14 225-induced fall in blood pressure occurs without a concomitant rise in sympathetic nervous activity; thus the increase in supine plasma renin activity, being a reflection of the interruption of the angiotensin feedback mechanism on renin release, indicates an effective suppression of angiotensin II formation.
6. During SQ 14 225 the persistence of aldosterone response to tilt and its relationship with renin activity suggest that the enzymatic blockade is over-ridden; however, in the presence of a reduced formation of angiotensin II a more pronounced response of the sympathetic nervous system is required to defend blood pressure against postural changes.