1. Lower-body subatmospheric pressure has been used to stimulate sympathetic reflexes in anaesthetized cats and the effects of an angiotensin converting enzyme inhibitor and [Sar1, Ala8]angiotensin II have been investigated on this reflex.
2. At the prevailing level of renin activity (2.9-3.2 ng of angiotensin I h−1 ml−1) the converting enzyme inhibitor had no effect on blood pressure yet it potentiated the initial fall in blood pressure caused by the reduced pressure and it impaired its recovery. After 10 min, therefore, blood pressure was still reduced after converting enzyme inhibitor treatment whereas in control experiments full recovery occurred within 30 s.
3. When converting enzyme inhibitor was given 75 s after the start of a 10 min period of reduced pressure, at a time when plasma renin activity had not been increased, it caused a greater and more sustained fall in pressure than it caused when administered alone. The angiotensin II antagonist, [Sar1,Ala8]angiotensin II, produced similar effects.
4. These findings suggest that the renin-angiotensin system interacts with the sympathetic nervous system to maintain systemic arterial pressure.