Bilateral renal clearance experiments were performed to examine the effects of synthetic rat atrial natriuretic peptide (ANP, atriopeptin II) on the arterial blood pressure (BP) and individual kidney function in anesthetized 2-kidney, 1 clip Goldblatt hypertensive rats (n = 14) and normotensive rats (n = 15). Bolus administration of graded doses of ANP from 2.5 to 10 micrograms/kg produced dose-related reductions in BP in hypertensive and normotensive rats. Despite profound reductions in BP, there were significant increases in glomerular filtration rate, urine flow, absolute and fractional excretion rates of sodium and potassium, osmolar clearance, and free water clearance in the nonclipped kidney, whereas no significant changes in these renal indices occurred in the clipped kidney. The enhanced renal responses were dose-dependent. The normal kidney responded to ANP with similar magnitude. When ANP was infused intravenously (0.3 microgram/kg.min i.v.) during 2 h, BP maximally reduced by 36 +/- 2 mm Hg (24 +/- 1%) in the hypertensive group and by 27 +/- 2 mm Hg (22 +/- 2%) in the control group. Again, there were distinct renal responses between the two kidneys of hypertensive rats. These results indicate that ANP effectively reduces BP and preferentially increases the excretory function of the nonclipped kidney without compromising the function of the clipped kidney in this hypertensive model.