1. The peptide converting enzyme inhibitor captopril was given (1·25 mg/kg intravenously) to normal and nephrectomized rats and rats with renovascular and deoxycorticosterone hypertension.
2. Captopril lowered blood pressure to a small extent in normal and nephrectomized rats. Bradykinin infusion in nephrectomized animals, however, potentiated the vasodepressor action of captopril.
3. Captopril produced a major blood pressure fall in the early stages of Goldblatt two-kidney one-clip hypertension: even when hypertension had been present for more than 4 months, a substantial vasodepressor action was seen. Rats with deoxycorticosterone-induced hypertension also showed a significant blood pressure fall.
4. Captopril was given to salt-loaded and salt-depleted rats in which the renin-angiotensin system had been blocked by infusion of the competitive angiotensin II antagonist saralasin. Captopril still lowered blood pressure in the salt-depleted group.
5. Captopril lowers blood pressure in situations where the renin-angiotensin system is not responsible for blood pressure maintenance. Further, the fall in blood pressure produced in Goldblatt two-kidney one-clip hypertension is greater than would be predicted on the basis of renin-angiotensin blockade. It is likely therefore that captopril lowers blood pressure by an action additional to angiotensin blockade. Bradykinin potentiation is one possible mechanism by which this may take place.