1. Pressor responses to angiotensin II and noradrenaline have been examined in two models of renovascular hypertension (two-kidney one-clip and one-kidney one-clip) before and 24 h after removal of the renal artery clip to examine the possible role of pressor hyper-responsiveness in the maintenance of hypertension. Early and chronic hypertension was studied to assess the part played by progressive structural hypertrophy.

2. Plasma renin concentration was elevated in early two-kidney hypertensive rats, whereas it was similar to that in age-matched normal rats in early one-kidney and chronic two-kidney hypertensive rats. Twenty-four hours after unclipping plasma renin concentration was the same in all groups. Unclipping restored blood pressure to normal levels by 24 h, whereas sham-operated animals remained hypertensive.

3. Angiotensin II responses in both early and chronic two-kidney one-clip hypertensive rats were lower than in age-matched normal rats. In unclipped rats responses were similar to those in normals. One-kidney hypertensive rats had similar angiotensin II responses to normal rats and there was no change with unclipping. Blockade of endogenous angiotensin II production by converting enzyme inhibition resulted in similar angiotensin II responses in hypertensive and unclipped groups.

4. In normal rats, angiotensin II responses were inversely related to plasma renin concentration (r = −0.47, P<0.001). Angiotensin II responses in hypertensive and unclipped rats were found to show a similar relationship to plasma renin concentration as normal rats.

5. Noradrenaline responses in hypertensive rats were similar to those in age-matched normals and there was no significant change with unclipping. In normal rats there was no relationship between noradrenaline responses and plasma renin concentration (r = −0.11, P<0.5).

6. These results emphasize the importance of the activity of endogenous renin-angiotensin in determining angiotensin II responses in vivo. It is concluded that neither the maintenance of hypertension nor the fall in blood pressure produced by removal of the renal artery clip in renovascular hypertension is due to changes in responsiveness to angiotensin II.

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