1. Using a previously established method of isolating an active-sodium-transport inhibitor (ASTI) from hypothalamic cell culture medium, the inhibitor was isolated and partially purified from sequential passages through Sephadex G-25 and h.p.l.c, and its effects on de-endothelialized rabbit aortic strips were investigated.
2. ASTI caused a cumulative concentration-dependent increase in tension which reversed slowly after wash, and the wash showed an identical effect on fresh strips.
3. Ouabain, used as a control, also caused a concentration-dependent increase in tension which reached a plateau at a concentration of 10 mmol/l. Both ouabain and ASTI caused a significant potentiation of the vasoconstrictor effect of noradrenaline at concentrations of 1 nmol/l-0.1 mmol/l.
4. Both ASTI and ouabain caused a significantly greater (P < 0.01) calcium retention than control medium in aortic strips.
5. Incubation of ASTI with prolidase, chymotrypsin and carboxypeptidase A destroyed the vasoconstrictor effects as well as its inhibitory effects on sodium, potassium-dependent adenosine triphosphatase and sodium efflux from erythrocytes, but leucine aminopeptidase was ineffective.
6. These studies suggest that hypothalamic cells in culture release a peptidic inhibitor of active sodium transport which increases vascular reactivity, potentiates vasoconstrictor effects of noradrenaline and causes calcium retention.