1. Lower-body negative pressure (LBNP) was used to stimulate sympathetic reflexes in anaesthetized cats. At −50 mmHg for 10 min it caused transient reduction in central venous pressure and systemic arterial blood pressure. Arterial blood pressure was then restored within 30 s and there was a tachycardia. Central venous pressure showed only partial recovery. The resting level of plasma renin activity (PRA; 2.9–3.2 ng h−1 ml−1) did not change until approximately 5 min into the manoeuvre.
2. When converting-enzyme inhibitor (CEI) was given 75 s after the onset of suction it caused a greater and more sustained fall in arterial blood pressure than when administered alone. The angiotensin II (ANG II) antagonist [Sar1,Ala8]ANG II produced similar effects after a short-lived pressor response.
3. This prolonged fall in arterial blood pressure produced by CEI was not associated with reduced sympathetic efferent nerve activity. This indicates that the inhibitor affects one of the peripheral actions of angiotensin and in so doing produces vasodilatation of neurogenic origin.
4. These findings suggest that angiotensin, at a level which does not exert a direct vasoconstrictor action, interacts with the sympathetic nervous system to maintain arterial blood pressure when homeostatic reflexes are activated. A reduction in the efficiency of these reflexes by CEI may contribute to its hypotensive effect.