1. This study was designed to examine the effect of angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors on resistance artery structure and endothelium-dependent relaxation in Goldblatt two-kidney, one-clip hypertensive rats. Four weeks after clipping, hypertensive and sham rats were treated with either perindopril (1 mg day−1 kg−1) or quinapril (3 or 30mg day−1 kg−1). After 6 weeks mesenteric resistance arteries were mounted in a myograph for measurements of vascular structure. The endothelium-dependent relaxation response to acetylcholine and bradykinin and the response to the nitric oxide donor sodium nitroprusside were recorded.
2. All treatment regimes lowered the blood pressure and reversed both cardiac and resistance artery hypertrophy. Two-kidney, one-clip rats treated with quinapril showed a dose-dependent reduction in media cross-sectional area and media to lumen ratio.
3. Hypertension of 10 weeks' duration was associated with an impaired endothelium-dependent relaxation response to acetylcholine and bradykinin. Treatment with perindopril and either dose of quinapril prevented the development of impaired endothelium-dependent relaxation but had no effect on the response to sodium nitroprusside. Treatment had no effect on endothelium-dependent relaxation in sham rats.
4. Angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitor treatment is effective in normalizing blood pressure and cardiovascular structural changes. Angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitor treatment prevented the development of impaired endothelium-dependent relaxation to both acetylcholine and bradykinin. The ability of angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors to reverse cardiovascular structural changes and prevent the development of abnormal endothelium-dependent relaxation may contribute to the overall effect of this type of antihypertensive drug.