1. The various angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors have structural differences which affect their affinities for the catalytic sites on converting enzyme. We postulated that such differences might result in differences in renoprotective efficacy. We investigated this in the diabetic spontaneous hypertensive rat. We also investigated whether these differences might reflect variations in glomerular or plasma angiotensin-converting enzyme activity.

2. One week after induction of diabetes, rats were started on antihypertensive therapy: enalapril, 10 mg · day−1 · kg−1, or perindopril, 4 mg · day−1 · kg−1, in the drinking water. After 3 months, the rats were killed, blood samples were taken and tissues were harvested. Angiotensin-converting enzyme activity in isolated glomeruli and plasma was measured by fluorimetric assay. Glomerular protein content was also determined.

3. Urinary protein excretion was significantly lower in perindopril-treated rats than in either controls (P < 0.0005) or enalapril-treated rats P < 0.05). Glomerular protein content was also lower in perindopril-treated rats (P < 0.05 versus enalapril; P < 0.005 versus control). There was no difference in glomerular angiotensin-converting enzyme activity between the two inhibitors although both were lower than control values (enalapril P < 0.025; perindopril P < 0.025). Plasma angiotensin-converting enzyme activity was significantly lower in the perindopril group than in either control (P < 0.005) or the enalapril group (P < 0.01).

4. We conclude that in the spontaneous hypertensive rat with streptozotocin-induced diabetes, perindopril is more effective than enalapril in reducing proteinuria and glomerular protein accumulation. This difference does not result from differences in glomerular-converting enzyme activity.

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