The effects of nonpressor doses of intravenous angiotensin II and of the converting enzyme inhibitor captopril on renal excretory function were investigated in eight healthy volunteers during sustained water diuresis on a constant intake of 150 mmol sodium per day. The angiotensin II-analogue val5-angiotensin II-asp1-beta-amide was infused i.v. at an average dose of 2.6 ng kg-1 min-1 which was the highest dose without a significant effect on arterial blood pressure. This subpressor dose of angiotensin II significantly decreased urine volume, urinary excretion of sodium, chloride and phosphate and distal delivery [(CH2O + CCl)/GFR X 100] in the absence of changes in GFR or distal fractional chloride absorption [CH2O/(CH2O + CCl)]. In a second series of experiments, an oral dose of 50 mg of the angiotensin I-converting enzyme inhibitor captopril was given to the sodium replete volunteers. In this study, captopril did not affect arterial blood pressure, GFR or any of the determined parameters of renal tubular function. Our results strongly suggest that the nonpressor dose of angiotensin II induced renal retention of sodium chloride via increased absorption in the proximal tubule. Thus, they further support the concept that angiotensin II participates in the regulation of renal sodium chloride excretion by affecting proximal tubular absorptive capacity. However, in the sodium replete stage, angiotensin II is of no major importance in regulating sodium chloride excretion.