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.

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