1. This study aims to further elucidate the role of the tissue and plasma kallikrein-kinin systems in blood pressure, electrolyte and volume homoeostasis. Components thereof and of the renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system were measured in conjunction with frusemide administration, in normotensive subjects and in patients with primary hypertension.

2. Frusemide increased plasma pre-kallikrein, angiotensin II and aldosterone concentrations and plasma renin activity, whereas the plasma level of tissue kallikrein remained unchanged. Basal values and the induced changes were similar in both groups.

3. Frusemide increased the urine volume and the excretion of Na+, K+, Mg2+, Cl, aldosterone, prostaglandin E2 and tissue kallikrein. These changes were similar in both groups, but the total tissue kallikrein excretion was significantly lower in the hypertensive patients. Excretion of electrolytes and hormones was also measured during three 24 h urine collection periods and did not differ between the two groups.

4. Thus, acute administration of frusemide to hypertensive patients and normal subjects increased the plasma level of pre-kallikrein, possibly indicating less activation to kallikrein and subsequently less kinin generation in the blood stream. This also suggests a role for the plasma kallikrein-kinin system in the regulation of vascular tone and blood volume. Circulating tissue kallikrein does not seem to be acutely involved.

5. Urinary excretion of kallikrein is reduced in patients with primary hypertension after the administration of frusemide, apparently without affecting the renal excretory response.

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