1. The extents of pulmonary degradation of bradykinin (BK) and angiotensin I (ANG I) to angiotensin II (ANG II) conversion were measured simultaneously to determine whether converting enzyme activity, in vivo, is altered in two-kidney, one-clip hypertensive rats (15, 60 and 180 days after renal artery clipping).
2. Inactivation of BK (estimated by comparing equipressor doses injected intravenously and intra-aortically) was markedly increased in these hypertensive rats: 98.5% (15 days), 98.4% (60 days) and 99.5% (180 days) vs 95.6% in control rats. All groups of hypertensive rats exhibited hyper-reactivity to intra-aortic BK, requiring doses 14–38 times smaller than the control rats to produce the same depressor response.
3. The percentage of ANG I conversion (calculated from equipressor doses of ANG I and ANG II injected intravenously) was elevated after 15 days (46.0% vs 28.1% in control rats), unchanged after 60 days (27.7%) and slightly elevated after 180 days (36.0%). Hyporeactivity to ANG II was observed 15 and 180 days after renal artery clipping (doses six times were needed to produce a standard increase in mean arterial pressure). No alterations were found in the rats at 60 days after artery clipping.
4. The increased degradation of BK cannot be explained solely by elevation of converting enzyme activity since no parallel increase in ANG I conversion was observed, indicating that other bradykininases in the lung may be involved.